Clovis · Education

Calif. opens door for special needs students to return to campus. One local district is ready to go.

Although most students across California continue to remain home, the state is starting to allow special needs students to return to campus in a limited capacity. 

The California Department of Public Health released new guidance Tuesday which allows schools to host small groups of students on campus. 

Its goal is to provide those students who need in-person instruction an opportunity to receive the education that could not have been provided in an online capacity. 

Special needs students are children who have disabilities, English language learners, homeless children and children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. 

The state is allowing one-on-one specialized services, such as occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. 

For groups, the guidance allows for up to 14 students and two supervising adults, as long as there is no physical interaction. 

The state requires that the groups have the same teachers when those students come to campus. 

Clovis Unified School District has been preparing to bring special needs students back to campus, district spokesperson Kelly Avants told The Sun. 

On Aug. 31, individual special needs students will be able to return to campus for services such as the severely disabled programs, Special Day preschool and the Program for the Acquisition of Language and Social Skills (PALS). 

The district will also allow students to receive services that they would be unable to participate in online, such as occupational therapy and audiology. 

Clovis Unified began individual student assessments as needed last week at all school sites. 

Students will go to campus no more than two days a week for a maximum of 1.5 hours each day. 

“Multiple other health and safety guidelines will be in place as we begin these services, and we are eager to help our students who have been most challenged over the past five months begin to again be served on our campuses,” Avants said in an email. 

Clovis Unified had agreed to this plan with the Fresno County Department of Public Health last week, ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

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.