UPDATE: Clovis Unified to reopen with online learning after Gov. Newsom's announcement

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- UPDATE:

The Clovis Unified School District's superintendent announced on Friday afternoon that classes in the new school year would be held virtually, after an order by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier in the day.

Newsom said that counties on the state's coronavirus watch list will not be allowed to open schools for in-person classes. The order would currently disqualify all schools in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Merced and Madera counties unless the counties are able to get off the watch list for 14 days.

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

NOTE: The video above is from an earlier broadcast, before Gov. Newsom's announcement, and will be updated.

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Clovis Unified is moving forward with plans to welcome students back to campus next month.

The decision was made during a meeting by the district's Board of Trustees late Wednesday night.

RELATED: Clovis Unified to open school campuses for in-person classes this fall
Board members voted unanimously to reopen campuses.

"Our board really agonized over this decision making and our administration has spent hours and hours and days just analyzing every piece of data available to us," district spokesperson Kelly Avants said.

Those parents who are still hesitant to send their children to school will have the option to continue with online courses.

30 to 40 percent of district families surveyed by Clovis Unified say they will keep their kids home when classes resume next month.

Teachers who elect to continue virtual teaching rather than report to campus will be specifically assigned to those students.

"A teacher who has a caseload of students will either have a caseload of students at their site or online. We won't be trying to expect teachers to blend that and have two students online and then in the class," said Avants.

Families can expect enhanced safety measures to be in place when campuses re-open August 17th, which include wearing face masks for both students and staff, social distancing, and utilizing spaces like cafeterias and gyms as extended learning spaces.

The district has also invested in new equipment to allow for the quick deep-cleaning of classrooms and buildings throughout the day.

"If I'm a 2nd-grade student, I'm not going to be sharing my desk with another student. That other student might be sitting two desks away from me," said Avants.

And just as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, Clovis Unified is ready to pivot on its decision to reopen schools if health officials deem it unsafe.

"We recognize that at any moment guidance or requirements from the state of California or our local health department may impact that and may change everything that our board decided last night and we recognize that's a possibility. We're going to continue to move towards this because we recognize at some point our kids will be back on campus."
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