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Central Unified School District isn’t waiting for the new school year to welcome students back to the classroom.

Students at the Tilley summer school will sit at desks 6 feet apart, and classes will be limited to nine students per teacher, superintendent Andy Alvarado said.

About 130 students in kindergarten through fifth grade will start summer school classes at Tilley Elementary School on July 6, superintendent Andy Alvarado said Friday.

Districts across California are mulling how to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19 when schools reopen in August. Most schools were closed after March 13 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Students at the Tilley summer school will sit at desks 6 feet apart, and classes will be limited to nine students per teacher, Alvarado said.

Students in grades 6-12 will attend summer school online, he said.

Classrooms, Buses on Display

Central Unified officials on Friday demonstrated to Fresno County Health Department officials how they plan to arrange classrooms and bus transportation for general education and special education students to keep them at a safe distance.

Numbers mark the seats on a Central Unified bus to maintain proper student distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Central Unified School District)

Several other school districts were on hand Friday at Tilley for Central Unified’s demonstration, which included how students would arrive, move on campus, interact with teachers and staff, and how many could safely be bused. — Sim Dhillon, spokesman, Fresno County Department of Public Health

The demonstration also included a nurse’s station at Tilley Elementary, Alvarado said.

Blue markings on a hallway floor at Tilley Elementary School are designed to maintain social distance spacing for students. (Central Unified School District)

The students who will attend summer school were identified as needing extra instruction time, and Central Unified staff started working on plans for face-to-face instruction about a month ago, he said.

Opening Tilley to summer school classes will be a good way for Central Unified to prepare for districtwide school openings in August, Alvarado said.

Putting Plans in Place

Sim Dhillon, spokesman for the Fresno County Department of Public Health, said officials are encouraging other school districts to have their school reopening plans in order well before the start of school.

Summer school is an opportunity to test out those plans, he said.

Several other school districts were on hand Friday at Tilley for Central Unified’s demonstration, which included how students would arrive, move on campus, interact with teachers and staff, and how many could safely be bused, Dhillon said.

The goal of the county’s public health officials, he said, is for districts to “make sure they have proper plans and that they’re up and running before the school year starts.”

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