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Secondary students back on campus full time
• Junior, senior high students return to in-person learning

Ceres Unified School District seventh-graders through high school seniors returned to full-day in-person instruction schedules this week.

Parents and guardians were notified on April 27.

“Distance learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinarily challenging for all involved – students, staff, and families – and the return to full-time, in-person instruction has taken far longer than any of us wanted or expected,” said CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel. “It was encouraging to see our secondary students return to classrooms on a hybrid schedule last month (March), and we are even more excited to announce that students’ regular, full-day instructional schedule will resume on Monday, May 3, with safety protocols in place. This final step in the phased return to in-person learning is supported by data reflecting that CUSD’s health and safety measures are effectively preventing the classroom-based spread of COVID-19.”

“The campus is going to be alive again,” commented Scott Edwards, who teaches six periods of P.E. at Central Valley High School. “It’s been almost a year since it’s been like that. A lot of kids need it, the socialization. The big reason why you go to school is to see your friends. It’s tough for teenagers to be at home and locked in a room. It’s also easier to teach when you’re with your students.”

Ceres Unified reopened its secondary (7-12) campuses on a half-day hybrid schedule in March. Students in Group A attended in-person class on Mondays and Thursdays. Students in Group B attended class on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesday’s were distance learning days for all.

Secondary half-day hybrid schedules expanded to full days on April 19.

“As previously shared, CUSD has employed a phased approach to returning students to in-person learning,” Siegel said. “This not only supports social distancing, but allows us to monitor safety protocols and procedures, ensuring that they are well-established and effective before moving to the next phase.”

“Of 190 secondary students quarantined to date due to possible COVID-19 exposure, we have been unable to identify any classroom transmissions,” he added. “This is consistent with data from the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, and suggests that the systems in place to limit school-based spread of COVID-19 within CUSD are accomplishing their intended purpose.”

All public schools in Stanislaus County were closed beginning March 19, 2020 through the 2019-20 spring academic year to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The re-opening schedule was contingent on county meeting COVID-19 progress benchmarks, as determined by state and local health officials, and was subject to change as conditions changed.

Ceres Unified School District will host live graduation and promotion ceremonies to celebrate the classes of 2021.

“Public health guidance at all graduation/promotion ceremonies will be observed, which includes limiting the number of guests and requiring pre-registration,” Siegel said. “The ceremonies will also be live-streamed to allow anyone who is not able to attend in person to enjoy the festivities.

“As we put distance learning behind us, please continue to reach out to your child’s school to address any concerns or to access the academic and social-emotional supports that are available.”

Here are the graduation/promotion dates and times for each school.

• Whitmore Charter High School: 6 p.m., Friday, May 28;

• Whitmore Charter School of Art and Technology 8th Grade: 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 1;

• Argus/Endeavor High School and Ceres Adult Education: 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 1;

• Patricia K. Beaver Leadership Magnet School 8th Grade: 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 2;

• Cesar Chavez Jr. High: 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 2;

• Mae Hensley Jr. High: 6 p.m., Thursday, June 3;

• Central Valley High School: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 3;

• Blaker-Kinser Jr. High: 6 p.m., Friday, June 4;

• Ceres High School: 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 4.