When will Fresno schools reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic

Isabel Dieppa

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Hello education readers,

Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted a regional stay-at-home order Monday for the San Joaquin Valley. The move was seen as good news for restaurants and hairstylists. But, for Fresno’s largest schools, not much will change in the near future.

The Fresno Unified School District will stick to its reopening plan and wait to bring students back to in-person learning until the county reaches the orange Tier 3 in the state’s color-coded “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” of coronavirus safety measures. The orange tier represents “moderate” risk levels for spreading COVID-19. To get to the orange tier, positive coronavirus cases would need to dip between 1 and 3.9 daily cases per 100,000.

Clovis Unified School District students who have been learning in-person part-time before Dec. 18 can continue to go to campuses. The district planned to phase in middle and high school students earlier but had to delay that return at least three times because county guidelines changed.

Clovis Unified has not set a return date for older students, Kelly Avants told the Ed Lab but is following the county guidelines.

On Jan. 21, the Fresno County Department of Public Health sent a letter to superintendents about its policy on reopening schools. Until Fresno County’s COVID-19 positive case rate is 25 cases per 100,000 people, schools can not bring back any additional students to learn on campus.

Fresno’s Central Unified School District’s reopening plan is also not changing. The district will wait to bring back students in grades k-6 until the county is in the red Tier 2, and students in grades 7-12 will return when the county is in the orange Tier 3.

Live Q &A event

But what about the long-term plans for returning students to campus?

And many questions remain about when it will be safe to reopen classrooms, how students and teachers will be protected, and how to overcome the challenges of distance learning, among many others.

Do you have questions you’d like to ask school leaders and health experts?

Join us on Jan 29, as Ed Lab’s Isabel Sophia Dieppa and Monica Velez moderate a panel discussion with CUSD Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell, Deputy Superintendent at the office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Hank Gutierrez, Assistant Director of the Fresno County Health Department, David Luchini, and Fresno County Health Department Dr. John Zweifler.

We will be taking your questions, asking what will school reopening looks like and when they will possibly reopen. Be sure to submit your questions to us at [email protected] and tune in on Jan 29 at noon.

You can RSVP for the event here!

Stories from The Bee’s Education Lab

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Isabel Sophia Dieppa is the Engagement Reporter for Fresno Bee’s Education Lab. Dieppa moved to Fresno from Chicago, where she has worked as a freelance journalist and social media manager since graduating from Indiana University. Before joining The Bee, Dieppa received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on property rights in Puerto Rico. Dieppa’s writing has appeared Remezcla, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo de Puerto Rico, Marie Claire, Bust, Bustle, Latino Rebels and PRI. Dieppa was raised in Puerto Rico and has lived in various parts of the United States. Before becoming a journalist, Dieppa was a theater artist in the city of Chicago.

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