Clovis Students Go Back to School

Mother and son, Blanca and Luke Garcia, stopped by Weldon Elementary to pick up supplies to begin the new school year on Monday, Aug. 17. (Photo by Ron Sundquist)

The bells rang at Clovis Unified schools Monday, but without students running to classes. Instead of children lined up outside classrooms on the first day of school, they queued up in Zoom squares, welcoming a new school year in unprecedented fashion.

Clovis Unified started its 2020-21 academic year Monday with online learning, after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on July 17 that counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list can not open schools for in-person classes until they are off the watchlist for 14 consecutive days.

The Clovis Unified Board of Trustees unanimously voted to reopen its schools for in-person learning at its July 15 meeting, with the option available for students to go online for classes.

Newsom’s order two days later stopped the school district’s plan in its tracks. Now, it’s an online life for Clovis Unified students.

There will be some semblance of normalcy for students, however. Dress code will be enforced in classes, according to Clovis Unified spokesperson Kelly Avants, and meals will continue to be served from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. at selected schools.

The district is also providing technical support for students, with resources available on its website to teach students how to protect their computer from viruses, access Google Classroom, among other tasks.

Indeed, this will be a school year like none other, as long as Fresno County remains on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list.

Fresno County has been on the state’s coronavirus watchlist since June 9, after it passed the 8 percent positivity rate threshold. It has remained on the watchlist since, with the latest numbers indicating 21,010 confirmed COVID-19 cases and a 13 percent positivity rate in Fresno County as of Monday, according to the county’s website.

Gabriel Camarillo has written for the Clovis Roundup since August 2019 and follows high school athletics, Fresno State football and former Clovis Unified student-athletes. Gabe also writes for The Collegian as a staff sports writer and works at One Putt Broadcasting as a board op for 940 ESPN radio.