Fresno Unified schools to continue distance learning to begin 2020 school year

Fresno Unified originally offered parents the option of having their students return to campus or continue distance learning.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students won't be returning to Fresno Unified campuses on August 17th.

The Fresno Unified School District announced on Friday that all schools will start the 2020 school year with all classes being conducted online.

Superintendent Bob Nelson made the announcement Friday afternoon shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that all schools on the state's COVID-19 county watchlist must begin the school year with distance learning.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom says California counties on watch list must keep schools closed

Nelson said the district has been in constant communication with the Fresno County Department of Public Health to decide when it is safe to start the process of reopening schools. He added that schools will not reopen until Fresno County gets the go-ahead from the state.

Once schools begin to reopen, families will have the option to continue distance learning or return to in-person classes. Transfers can be made two weeks into a new quarter, but they will not be locked into that decision for the entire quarter.

Nelson added that the district will continue providing meals for all children and families in the district, noting that exactly four million meals have been provided since March 13.

Nelson is urging the community to follow safety protocols as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, such as washing your hands, social distancing and wearing a mask. He said that while he wishes all students could return to campuses to start the upcoming school year, he is putting the safety of everyone first.

"The time of politicizing this is over and it's really about doing what it takes from a unity perspective to get kids back to school. If we want our kids back to school, we have to be off the statewide watch list," he said.

No employees of Fresno Unified will be laid off as a result of the distance learning.

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