Fresno Unified School District welcomes back over 70,000 students

The district is the third-largest in the entire state, just behind Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified.

Monday, August 15, 2022
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It is officially back to school for the largest school district in Central California. Fresno Unified is welcoming back over 70,000 students.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It is officially back to school for the largest school district in Central California.

Fresno Unified welcomed back over 70,000 students Monday morning.

The district is the third-largest in the entire state, just behind Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified.

District officials are working hard to keep COVID-19 off campus.

Superintendent Bob Nelson says the coronavirus is more manageable than ever before, but it's not gone.

Officials want to remind students who feel sick or experience virus symptoms to stay home.

The district is providing tests, hand sanitizer and masks to those who choose to wear them, though they are no longer required.

But it's not just physical health it's paying attention to.

"The pandemic kind of put everything on hold and just to make sure we have adequate support for our families, our board has graciously put like $8 million into new social emotional support for kids," says Nelson.

We visited Fresno Unified's newest school, which welcomed students on campus on Monday.

Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary represents the dawn of a new day in Fresno Unified.

The school offers a dual language immersion program.

Principal Miguel Naranjo welcomed more than 500 students to the southeast Fresno campus on Church near Willow.

"We're building up from pre-school, TK, kinder and then every year we'll add another grade level. Our kids will be proficient in English and Spanish," says Naranjo.

The school is named after Fresno native Juan Felipe Herrera, who was the US Poet Laureate from 2015-17.

Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary has a United Health Center so students and area families have better access to medical care.

Meanwhile, Fresno Unified has also beefed up security, adding school resource officers to its middle schools and introducing the RAPTOR system.