What Fresno County remaining in 'red tier' means for Valley schools

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County schools were encouraged by the county's continued "Red Tier" status.

RELATED: COVID-19 updates: Fresno County remains in 'red tier,' Kings County also moves to 'red tier'

Many were ready to move forward with school reopening plans. Dozens of Valley schools have already been approved for school waivers.

Clovis Unified is expected to hear this week whether it can bring back to campus some kids in transitional kindergarten through 6th grade.

District spokesperson Kelly Avants said, "Once you put six feet of space between kids in a classroom, the number of kids in a classroom is significantly reduced, so you're really talking about intensive small group instruction."

Clovis Unified's waiver application offered guidance on everything from masks and cleaning to screening and contact tracing.

A county health department official publicly praised the plan. The district would offer short morning and afternoon blocks on campus.

Avants explained, "Once you factor in the health and safety guidelines that we must have in place, that 2-1/2 hour block schedule is what we can deliver right now in that in-person setting."

Parents have been filling out surveys to see if they prefer in-person, online or a hybrid teaching model.

The waiver application only covered elementary schools, though the district is preparing to also bring back middle and high school students.

Avants said, "What we have been told to this point is so long as we're in red and have now passed that 14-day period and the county does not go back into purple, we would be able to move forward with those plans."

If the waiver is approved, some kids in Clovis Unified could be back on campuses November 3.

Fresno Unified has also applied for a school waiver and was waiting for a decision from the state.
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