Education · Hanford

A preview of reopened schools emerges in Hanford

The Hanford Joint Union High School District has announced a plan to reopen schools and bring students back to campus in the fall coming off the closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

HJUHSD released the first draft of the plan and will deliver the finalized plan to the public by July 1 after receiving feedback from staff and parents. 

The full reopening plan can be viewed here

Co-curricular activities, such as athletics and band practices, will be able to begin on July 1, and the district plans to reopen campuses for classes on August 13. 

“Our plan and timeline to reopen aligns with other districts in our region and most of the state of California and has been reviewed by the Kings County Department of Public Health to meet recommended safety measures and protocols to help slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic,” the plan reads. 

The plan applies to all seven schools in the district: Hanford, Hanford West, Sierra Pacific, Earl F. Johnson, Hanford Adult School, Hanford Online Charter and Community Day School. 

HJUHSD will not require students, staff and visitors to wear face masks, but the district will strongly recommend that everyone wears one. Masks will be available for students and staff, if requested. 

Hand sanitizing stations will be installed in all classrooms, gyms, labs and offices, among other spaces, and social distancing markings will be posted and placed on floors where needed. 

Classrooms will look a little different than normal. The district will have the following classroom arrangements in place: 

  • To the degree practicable, all student desks and tables should be arranged to allow for maximum student-to-student distancing. 
  • All students should face the same direction rather than sitting in groups or facing each other. 
  • In shops, gyms, etc. consider taking attendance and providing instruction in larger spaces rather than classroom seating. 
  • Large band, choir, etc. classes may want to make arrangements for larger spaces or outdoor practice when possible. 
  • Disinfecting supplies, hand sanitizer, and classroom plans for cleaning between classes will be in place. 
  • Ensure equipment cleaning and disinfecting practices by students and staff in gyms, labs, and shops are followed. No “loaner” materials such as PE clothes should be allowed. 
  • Classrooms need to be free of any additional or unnecessary furniture or clutter that may get in the way of distancing or disinfecting practices. 

If a student becomes ill and needs to stay at home for an extended period, teachers would provide classwork to make distance learning possible. 

In common areas, students in close proximity or close physical contact will be asked to separate, and some tables and spaces may be closed. 

If a student becomes ill on campus, he or she will be asked to immediately put on a face mask and will be sent to the Health Care Office. The student will be tested for COVID-19 if a parent or guardian grants permission. The student would then be held in an isolation area until a parent or guardian could come pick him or her up. 

The district will not allow spectators at sporting events until Kings County transitions into Stage Four of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s four-phase reopening plan. Kings County is currently in Stage 3. 

HJUHSD recognizes that social distancing on buses will be difficult and not always feasible and suggests that families find other transportation methods if they are not comfortable having their students ride the bus. 

“Although HJUHSD is not required to provide bussing to all students, we know that it is in their best interest to continue doing so,” the plan reads. “However, there is not a realistic or feasible way in which we can substantially distance students on our school buses. Therefore, it is solely the student’s and parent’s choice as to whether they want to ride the bus.” 

The district will have distance learning options in place for students who are not comfortable returning to school in the fall.

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.