Fresno Unified leaders discuss changes in new school year

Students will be back in the classroom on August 15.

Shayla Girardin Image
Friday, August 5, 2022
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New bell schedules, added security and emotional support are some changes Fresno Unified's 70,000 students will see when they are back in classrooms.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is preparing to welcome more than 70,000 students back to its campuses in less than two weeks.

Students will be back in the classroom on August 15, and 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 will provide tests, hand sanitizer and masks to those who choose to wear them, though they are no longer required.

Superintendent Nelson says as they work to prevent spreading the virus, the focus is on education.

"We did a lot of things that were both good and right for our community, but they weren't necessarily the main thing, which is teaching and learning," he said.

One of the changes this year will be later start times for some students, due to Senate Bill 328.

"Also known as the 'late start' initiative, it puts some limitations on when middle and high schools can start this year, so all of our bus and bell schedules reflect that," says Nelson.

Fresno Unified is also beefing up security, adding school resource officers to its middle schools and introducing the RAPTOR system

"A system that screens people at the door of the entry for their IDs... it's checked against a database of people that may cause concern," says Nelson.

Students will also notice added emotional support in and out of the classroom - to respond to the growing need.

Unlike past years, the district will not provide supplemental online instruction if students are sick, but families do have options.

FUSD will still be offering their e-Learn Academy for families that are not comfortable with in-person schooling.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory, the district is reminding families there are still other required immunizations, especially if your student is going into kindergarten or 8th grade.