Clovis Unified welcomes students to new school and starts semester virtually

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Clovis Unified rang in the 2020 school year unlike ever before; passing out technology, logging on to Zoom sessions and greeting new families from behind a mask.

Clovis Unified parent Jaime Zarcone and her daughter, Jemma, say this fall, they feel ready for virtual learning.

"I definitely feel more prepared," said Zarcone. "The district has been phenomenal keeping us informed."

They're one of many families attending Clovis Unified's newest school, Janet L. Young Elementary.

"Of course we wanted to be on campus and experience everything," added Zarcone, "but they've done a very good job for making it as special as possible."

While students won't be sitting at their desks anytime soon, staff across the district worked to find ways to connect with students ringing the bell virtually, even creating photo opportunities for families.

"We're doing online instruction through Zoom, we have schedules the students will be following, and they'll be having to log onto Zoom during those times for instruction from their teacher," said 2nd Grade teacher Melissa Tanaleon.

"We're trying to do a lot of things to build a culture from afar," said Young Elementary Principal Kacey Gibson. "Little things like doing our pre-flight event for the kids to walk through the hallway, and meet their teacher, and get their materials."

The district is also working hard to get kids the technology they need after an increased demand for WiFi hotspots.

"It's just everyone needs one, so we're working with our families," continued Gibson. "We know there's going to be internet issues, obviously just because we can't provide those hot spots to support them."

At Young Elementary, roughly 150 families asked for hot spots and staff say they've already filled about half of the requests. In the meantime, staff across the district are working hard to accommodate families still needing access to internet.

"A lot of it might be personal phone calls instead of doing full class Zoom because they can't get on," said Gibson. "We're just going to have to work with our families individually."
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