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Students return to Ceres classes today
• Students, adults required to wear masks indoors
Taking Flight generic
Students picked up textbooks from the library during Central Valley High School’s Taking Flight event last week. The new school year starts today.

Ceres Unified School District teachers, school staff and administrators are welcoming back 14,000-plus students to campuses today as the 2021-22 academic year gets underway with COVID-prevention measures like masks in place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published its updated recommendations for K-12 schools on July 9.

“The new guidance removes the requirement for social distancing at schools, but requires adults and students to wear face masks while inside classrooms and school buildings,” said CUSD Supt. Denise Wickham in a message to stakeholders on the district’s website. “Masks are not required outdoors.

“We anticipate that this guidance will remain in effect as the school year begins; however, the past year has shown that guidance can change unexpectedly to meet evolving conditions,” she added. “We will continue to monitor developments and meet regularly with local public health officials and area superintendents in order to make sound decisions based on the latest information. To provide families with flexibility, an independent study option will be available. Please check ParentSquare for updates and additional information as the school year approaches.

While the coming weeks may still not look quite like “normal,” I am excited about the tremendous growth that I am confident lies ahead. Thank you for entrusting CUSD to provide safe and effective learning environments for all.”

Frequent and thorough handwashing will be strongly encouraged throughout the day. Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms, offices, and common areas for students and staff to use.

Face coverings aren’t required for students exempt due to medical conditions as specified in a medical doctor’s note.

CUSD resumes in-person learning this week after nearly a year of distance and hybrid learning because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

CUSD’s seventh- through 12th-graders returned to full-day in-person instruction schedules the first week of May during the 2020-21 school year. Elementary students returned to campus in November.

Nikole Ferrel’s daughter Amaia is an eighth-grader at Mae Hensley Junior High.

“If she has to wear a mask to be in school that’s what we’re going to do,” said Nikole Ferrel. “I just hope they (students) don’t get sent home again like how it happened in 2020.”