Fresno Unified, Fresno Teachers Association close to return date agreement

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As frustrations surrounding the return to campus climb, Fresno Unified families have called on the city council to make their voices heard.

"I thought it was just going to be a few weeks but it's turned into a year," says Bullard High senior Brady Zavorek.

He says his grades haven't fallen but dad and coach Andy Zavorek says letter grades are only part of a successful academic career.

He adds, "Comprehension, learning and coming away with knowledge is a different aspect. I just don't think they're getting the baseline or the foundation to move on."

Councilman Miguel Arias called on Fresno Unified to devise a plan for meaningful in-person education by April.

"It's time for the district to respond to the pleas of parents and to offer realistic options," says Arias.

RELATED: COVID vaccine availability brings Fresno Unified closer to 'full' return to classrooms

He also acknowledges the successful meal program that he says shows they're capable.

"They proved then they can take swift action while keeping their employees and families safe," says Arias.

Superintendent Bob Nelson shares his interest in getting kids back to campus, saying, "Kids need to be back in school - there's no doubt about it. That being said, we can't put anyone at risk either so we have to simultaneously make both of those things true."

Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Teachers Association are close to an agreement that would solidify an earlier return date for teachers and students, according to Nelson.

This comes after roughly a week of negotiations.

Nelson says given tier assignment changes and enhanced CAL-OSHA requirements, the return plan devised in October had to be revised for safety and keeping students with their current teacher.

Nelson says, "We have to implement a strategy which is effective and consistent for kids and families."

Bringing them closer to that goal - securing rapid antigen testing through the California Endowment, making them the largest district in the program.

That's on top of 40,000 doses of the COVID 19 vaccine for staff.

Before there is a finalized district-wide return date, parents will need to be resurveyed to see whether they want their child in - class or at home.
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