'We are excited!': Visalia Unified gears up to welcome back students on campus

With COVID-19 sticking around, Superintendent Kirk Shrum says the district is ready to adjust if needed.

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Friday, August 5, 2022 6:11AM
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Unlike the last two school years, over 30,000 Visalia Unified School District students are gearing up for the new year - in person.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Unlike the last two school years, over 30,000 Visalia Unified School District students are gearing up for the new year - in person, including Nicola Wissler's three boys, ages 5, 12, and 14.

She says learning from home was a challenge, and she looks forward to the experience her kids will soon have.

"For me, the mental health and socializing my kids get at school is important, and so I am willing to send them back without any restrictions and knowing the schools are still taking safety precautions," Wissler says. "My kids are going to orientations...and they are so excited. They get to go on campus, meet their teacher, and they are over the moon. They get to see their friends again."

With COVID-19 sticking around, Superintendent Kirk Shrum says the district is ready to adjust if needed.

"Our teachers are simply heroes. What they've done these past few years is heroic. We now know how to do school and mitigate the virus, and what we also know is that what's most important, is that our kids are in school," Shrum says.

Schools across Tulare County are working closely with the local health Department, which is encouraging everyone to follow state guidelines.

California will provide COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment for schools, as needed.

Wissler says she understands parents have different views about vaccinations and restrictions like wearing masks, but hopes everyone will be respectful of one another.

"If you want your kid to go to school and wear a mask, I fully support that. My kids see kids with a mask, and they don't even think twice."

The CDC is expected to release new guidelines, which include shorter quarantine days and less emphasis on 6 feet of social distancing.

Shrum says regardless, they are doing what they can to provide safe in-person learning along with virtual options.

"We should be thankful to our educators. I know they are excited, we are excited, families are excited, and we are going to have the best first day ever here in Visalia Unified!"