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Virtual Teaching, Independent Learning - Fresno Unified Classes Start Next Monday

Fresno Unified School District Livestream
Fresno Unified School District's Superintendent Bob Nelson and board members held a press conference to talk about the disitrict's plans for returning to school next week.

The Fresno Unified School District announced its finalized plans Monday for distance learning.

In a virtual press conference, School Board President Keshia Thomas made one thing clear:

“The distance learning families experienced this past spring will not be what families experience this new school year.”

She explained that students from preschool to sixth grade will spend their mornings receiving live, virtual instruction from teachers. Afternoons will be for one-on-one meetings, extracurriculars, or independent work by students. Middle and high schoolers will be on a block schedule, taking half their classes every other day. 

Teachers will hold office hours and provide a “week at a glance” schedule every week for parents. 

Superintendent Bob Nelson said the district has distributed over 3,000 hotspots to students, and each school site will give weekly, virtual updates to parents. 

“We know our kids deserve high quality learning and the support necessary to ensure that we’re just meeting and filling all of the gaps,” said Nelson. “No narrative around, ‘I can’t reach my teacher, I can’t reach the site, or I don’t know what to do next.’ The goal is to try and provide as much support as we can.”

Nelson did not make any predictions on when school will resume in person, but said he was sure it would be big news the moment the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is within range for the state to consider allowing Fresno schools to reopen. 

As it did all summer, the district is still distributing weekday meals at over 60 school sites, and will give kids breakfast and lunch to take home before instruction begins at 9 a.m. Fresno Unified classes start Monday, August 17 with the first two days serving as orientation for kids and parents to meet teachers online and adjust to the new schedule.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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