Fresno Unified schools to reopen on August 17

In accordance with the health department's COVID-19 guidelines, everyone on campus will be required to wear masks, and schools will work to ensure six-feet distancing.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified schools will resume classes on August 17 'for all those who choose to come', the school district's superintendent Bob Nelson announced on Thursday.

He said it is up to parents to choose if they want their students to attend class in-person full-time or to stay at home and pursue e-learning.

The superintendent was speaking at a press conference to discuss plans for a safe reopening, and about how school sports and extracurricular activities may resume.



There will be several changes in the way classrooms operate.

In accordance with the health department's COVID-19 guidelines, everyone on campus will be required to wear masks, and schools will work to ensure six-feet distancing.

Desks spread out sporadically in classrooms, X's placed on cafeteria tables in a zig-zag pattern and handwashing stations will be the new normal.

Others measures include reducing class sizes, limiting campus visits, creating one-way hallways, and isolation rooms for those who may be sick.

"Ideally we will be putting that child in a place where they will be isolated until they can be picked up," said Nelson.

However, Nelson said staff and students' 'humanity' and 'dignity' would be kept in mind while enforcing these measures, and there would be flexibility in dealing with those who have different health needs.

"We are going to mandate masks, but I'm not going to go to immediately punish a child with autism who removes their mask in a classroom," said Nelson.

Nelson said the district would work to provide masks every day to each staff member and to students at a seventh-grade level and above.
It will also work with parents of younger students to make sure they have masks.

"When kids are not at school, that's really hard for a community," Nelson said.

When it comes to transportation, the number of students on board will be reduced to accommodated physical distancing.

Parents are also urged to drop students off if possible.

Nelson asked parents whose kids were ill to keep them home to ensure others on campus stay safe and healthy.

"We are not giving awards for perfect attendance during this COVID situation," he said.

Nelson said the district decided on this plan for reopening after taking parents' feedback into account.
In a survey taken by Fresno Unified, about 75% of parents and guardians who turned in responses said returning to a normal school schedule is best for their student and family.

In another month, parents will have to declare how their students will attend class for the next year.

If they choose online, they could be given the option to transition to physical learning on a quarterly basis.

RELATED: Majority of Fresno Unified parents want their kids back in class

Fresno Unified closed its doors to students in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said schools could begin reopening once the state reached Stage 3 of his reopening plan.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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