California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced guidelines Monday for public schools to reopen after being closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state encourages schools to plan for physical distancing when classes resume in the fall. Schools should limit the number of people on all campus spaces to accommodate a minimum distance of 6 feet between individuals.
If there is a situation where individuals are forced to be closer than 6 feet apart – such as entering a bus – all students and staff should wear face masks.
“To be clear, face coverings are not a replacement for physical distancing, but they should be used to mitigate virus spread when physical distancing is not feasible,” the guidance reads.
The state also recommends that buses are capped at a limited capacity and have seats blocked off to allow for physical distancing.
As school districts make their plans to bring students back to campus in the fall, the state has provided four instructional scheduling models for schools to consider using:
- Two Day Rotation Blended Learning Model: Students report to school on two designated days based on grade level for in-person instruction. On the other days, students would participate in “enrichment opportunities aligned with academic goals” either on site or off site with another community partner. Students would participate in distance learning on Fridays.
- A/B Week Blended Learning Model: Half the students would attend in-person one week while the other half would participate in distance learning. The students would alternate every week.
- Looping Structure: K-8 students would stay with the same teacher for consecutive years such as first and second grade. “Teachers and students staying together over multiple grade levels can build a better understanding of health and safety, decreasing risks to students and staff,” the guidance reads.
- Early/Late Staggered Schedules: Grade levels would arrive and depart at different times. The state also recommends that students could remain in a homeroom and have teachers rotate classrooms to decrease traffic in hallways.
In the guidance, the state said that there is not a “one size fits all” solution for schools, and every school district can address and adjust their practices accordingly to fit their own needs.
The state also recommends that districts make online learning available in the fall for students who are at a higher risk for severe illness.
Clovis Unified School District is currently in the process of making plans to start on-campus learning on August 17, district spokeswoman Kelly Avants told the Sun.
“A committee of several dozen people from every role in the district are developing that plan in accordance with appropriate health and safety guidance for the Fresno County area, and working with our local health department to ensure they are both practical and appropriate to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading,” Avants said.
The start of school plan will be shared in detail on or before July 16.
The district is having some employees that were working remotely return to campus this week, and some co-curricular activities for very small groups are reopening, Avants said.
Some of the Campus Club after school and summer daycare programs are reopening on a limited basis starting June 15.
Fresno Unified School District spokeswoman Vanessa Ramirez told The Sun that the district is currently conducting a parent survey that includes two options:
- All families are able to decide between coming back to school face-to-face with as many safety mitigations as we can feasibly provide or do full-time online learning.
- A hybrid model with different groups of students coming to campus for in-person learning on some days and participating in online learning on other days.
The survey will be open until Thursday.