CUSD Provide Latest Update on COVID-19 Plans

Associate Superintendent School Leadership Corrine Folmer speaking with the Clovis Unified School District Governing Board about graduation plans on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Courtesy CUSD YouTube)

On Tuesday, California announced a plan to discontinue the color-coded tier system statewide by June 15, which could have significant implications for how Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) operates soon.

The CUSD Governing Board discussed the changes that would occur if California reaches its complete reopening goal during the Wednesday, April 7 meeting.

According to Associate Superintendent School Leadership Corrine Folmer, the plan for the 2021-22 school year as it stands is a return to five days a week instructional calendar.

A plan is currently being developed to address staffing needs for a three-feet social distancing return and setting a cap on classroom capacity at the three-foot mark.

Folmer says that parents will be informed about both online and in-person options for the fall by the end of April so they can make an informed decision for their children.

“Details need to be for both online and in-person options so parents feel like they can make that very educated decision because we will work to base staffing off of the feedback that we receive from parents,” Folmer said.

Folmer says delivery of an online option is part of development plans, as they look for ways to expand Clovis Online. She says that they are currently waiting to talk and get feedback from parents about online options.

Board member Hugh Awtrey says that the board has to be considerate of those who feel that at this time, online learning is best for their children, even if the vocal majority is calling for in-person.

According to Awtrey, 50% of students are currently participating in virtual learning. 

“We’re not talking to a small group, and their choice is to do that [online learning],” Awtrey said. “I think online is an option that we have to have available.”

And as more and more Californians receive vaccinations  — with upwards of 20 million according to state officials  — the conversation of whether or not employees and educators will be required to get vaccinated has arisen. 

At this time, there is no requirement for staff and students to get vaccinated for the fall. CUSD is encouraging those who are eligible to receive a vaccine to do their part.

“We will continue to encourage our staff and community to get their vaccines because we recognize that that helps our community,” Folmer said. “But there are no current requirements.”

CUSD will provide students aged 16 and older an opportunity to receive a vaccination if they wish to.

Board President Dr. Steven Fogg encourages all staff, employees and families to get vaccinated if they are eligible. 

“Vaccination is the way out of this [pandemic],” Fogg said. “I’ll say it every time I have a chance. I really think we need to encourage that. I don’t want to require it.”

Graduation update

As for the upcoming 2021 graduations, Folmer says that they are continuing to work towards a traditional graduation and how that could be accomplished under the tier system, which will still be in place during graduation season.

If Fresno County stays in the red tier when graduations occur, the state guidelines state that outdoor venues can have a capacity of 20%.

“With capacity constraints, it impacts how many can attend for graduation,” Folmer said. “Playing with that number and capacity will be a big part of the conversations that we will be having on Friday.”

Further discussion will be taking place on Friday, April 5, and a subsequent announcement by Monday, April 12 at the latest.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.