SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — One of the largest school districts in the area is inching closer to a potential in-person start date, and safety is at the top of parents’ minds. The Sacramento City Unified District is dotting its I’s and crossing its T’s to make sure plans are foolproof.

High school student Cedeira Dawson is weeks into distance learning and already feels herself fading.

“Zoom fatigue is a real thing,” Dawson said with a laugh. The last time she chatted with CBS13 it was day one of school online. But now, like many others, she’s itching for a return back to campus.

“I would really like to,” she said. “I feel you learn better with other people being there.”

Though she said she would return only if and when it’s safe. At Sac City Unified, schools like Sam Brennan Middle School, staff are already preparing by bringing in their own second set of eyes.

In spaced-out classrooms, Gary Gery and his team with PBK Architects double-checked the district’s safety measures. They make sure desks are far enough apart, signs are posted and sanitation protocols are in place.

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“It’s always good to have someone else come behind and check,” Gery said.

Using their skills in a new way, the architecture firm is working with districts across the state to make sure they’re compliant before they even open. The demand for these services by PBK has soared, and they’re expecting to be busy with several school districts through October and November.

“Whatever we can do to help,” Gery said. “We’re happy to come out here and do this.”

While thankful for these new protocols, Dawson’s mother, Gwynnae Byrd, has other concerns, too.

“We’d really like to feel security around the air filtering system,” Byrd said.

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Sac City Unified’s Director of Facilities, Nathaniel Browning, said they’ve planned for that.

“By opening the doors and windows, the dampener and reprogramming,” Browning said. “We’re able to get much more air circulation of outside air.”

One step towards re-opening as students like Dawson count down the days until stepping foot on campus again.

SCUSD doesn’t have a specific start date of when to begin in-person learning. Though, they’re testing the waters of classroom learning with small groups of students who need extra school support.

Heather Janssen

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