LOOMIS (CBS13) – Placer County school districts can now welcome students back on campus after moving down from the state’s purple tier to the red. The county’s recent move allows them to reopen schools at a limited capacity.
The first of many districts in Placer County to open is Placer Union High School District, which has prepared for months in order to send students back to class safely.
“I’m feeling very excited, we’re really happy,” said Erica Wildrick, a parent of a Del Oro High School student.
Her son, Jack, is in his freshman year and for the first time in a long time is back on campus.
Wildrick, like many parents, is looking forward to the shift away from all virtual learning.
“I have great hopes that this is going to be a good thing to open schools back up slowly,” Wildrick said.
Though, the rest of the year at Del Oro High School will look different as thousands of students will walk the halls – but not without proper precautions. Students must follow arrows directing them to classrooms, take part in daily temperature checks, and sit at desks with dividers between students. Masks are also mandatory for all students and staff.
“Those safety measures are really us saying we’re going to do everything we can to keep you safe while you’re here,” Nick Terwas, Del Oro’s assistant principal, said.
Teachers will also utilize new technology in an attempt to provide an equal education for those still learning at home, which is about 16% of the campus. Other students will take part in coming to campus for two or four days of the week. On Wednesdays, every student learns at home. But what hasn’t changed is the passion from teachers like Joseph Hancock.
“I can’t wait for students to be here,” Hancock said. “I’m almost tearing up over here. I’m so excited.”
This ‘new normal’ is anything but normal. But despite all these changes, Wildrick is thankful Jack can hit the books with a warm welcome.
“I wish we didn’t have to do those things, but I understand that if this is what it takes to keep our kids safe,” Wildrick said. “I’m willing to take those precautions.”
For Wildrick, she chalks up the decision to return as a win; while schools hold out hope their protocols continue to pass the test.
As for what happens if a student tests positive, Placer Union High School District said they’ll follow state-mandated protocols. Students will be in smaller groups – who would likely have to quarantine if a student in class tests positive. Five percent of people at a school would have to test positive for it to shut down.