SAN JOSE (KPIX) — With summer winding down, the largest school district in the South Bay is on track to begin full in-person learning in less than three weeks.
Beginning August 18, parents and students returning to class in the San Jose Unified School District will notice significant changes to their daily routine, compared to classes back in the spring.READ MORE: Downsized But Not Out, Dreamforce Conference Set to Boost Business in San Francisco
Among the changes:
- No more distance learning
- Masks will be required indoors and outdoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status
- No more social distancing
- Plexiglass in the classroom is optional
- No more temperature checks upon entry
Parents must still fill out a four-part questionnaire every morning before class. And there will still be staggered drop-off and pick-up times.
“It’s going to mean that the classroom goes back to feeling very similar to what it did pre-pandemic. Teachers will have all of their students in person, no distance learning this year. And I think that will represent a return to a much more normal style of instruction,” said San Jose Unified School Public Information OfficerJennifer Maddox.
The district has adopted new quarantine protocols, in accordance with state health department guidelines. Students who test positive must quarantine for 10 days.
Students who are considered “close contacts” — defined as those who were within six feet of the infected student for more than 15 minutes — can return to class with a negative COVID-19 test, but must continue to test negative every other day for the following 10 days.
“The state has removed its stable groups, so there’s no more, ‘We shut the entire group down’ when someone is positive,” said Maddox.READ MORE: Flames Reach Ancient Sequoias; Crews in Pitched Battle to Save Giant Forest Grove
Since the FDA has not yet approved the vaccine for children 11 years old and younger, there is no vaccine mandate for younger students. About 90% of district employees have received the vaccine, according to Maddox.
SJUSD and the various unions agreed to provide an alternative to the remaining 10% of unvaccinated employees.
“For our employees, we have given them the option. They either must have a vaccine or they have to test twice a week for COVID,” said Maddox.
For Raquel Thomson and her 8-year-old son Landon, masks in the classroom are better than the alternative.
“Even though you have to wear a mask, I always forget about it. And it’s definitely way more fun,” said Landon.
“And if that’s going to keep our rates low and allow them to go back to school, then yes, they can wear a mask. They’ll be fine. It makes things a little bit more challenging, but it’s way better than having them at home on a computer screen,” said his mother.MORE NEWS: PG&E Says Light Rain After Long Drought Led to Lights-Out Across Bay Area
The California Department of Public Health is expected to update its COVID protocols and guidance to schools on November 1.