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Students return in fewer numbers
• Hybrid schedule will minimize number of students on campuses
Gisselle Rosas
Kindergarten student Gisselle Rosas gives a thumbs up as she returns to the campus of Lucas Dual Language Academy, one of Ceres Unified School District’s specialized campuses.

The wait is finally over.

More than 3,000 elementary students from Ceres Unified School District returned to campus this week for in-person learning as part of a hybrid schedule.

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

“We’re thrilled to be able to have students back on campus,” said CUSD Communications Specialist Beth Jimenez. “Our students and families are excited. Being at school is the best place for learning.”

To allow for social distancing, a hybrid schedule is being used to minimize the number of students on campus at a time.

Students attend school in one of two groups. Group A attends classes in person on Mondays and Thursdays.  Group B attends classes in person on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The regular bell schedule will be followed.

“We want to make sure to maintain social distance in classrooms, cafeterias and hallways,” Jimenez said. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep our students safe. And staggering schedules is a means of accomplishing that.”

Group A—1,557  pre-kindergarten through second grade students—was welcomed back to school on Monday.

Group B (1,532 students) returned to school on Tuesday.

In-person instruction for students in grades 3-6 is slated to begin the week of Nov. 16.

Group A (2,096 students) and Group B (2,043) return to campus on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17, respectively.

The guardians of 245 K-6 students have opted for independent study.

The Ceres School Board unanimously approved a plan on Oct. 8 to re-open CUSD’s elementary campuses for partial in-person learning.

“In reopening campuses, the safety of students, staff, and families will remain our top priority,” CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel. “CUSD will adhere to protocols and procedures recommended by state and local health officials to prevent the spread of illness, including frequent cleaning and sanitizing of buildings and surfaces, routine hand-washing/hand-sanitizing, and social distancing.”

Siegel said secondary schools (7-12) will take longer to reopen safely, as their potential for the spread of illness is higher due to much larger student populations and intermingling of students changing classes multiple times each day.

“We are working on a plan,” noted Jimenez. “It’s dependent on what happens with the (COVID-19) case numbers in Stanislaus County. The priority is to keep our kids safe.”

Westport returns
Westport Elementary students in grades pre-K-2 had their temperatures taken when they arrived on campus for in-person learning on Tuesday. The safety measure was implemented to protect students, teachers and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term substitute teacher Terry Howerton pictured with first-graders Yoselin Suarez Cruz and Gael Virgen Sanchez.