By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The clock is ticking towards the end of winter break. In a matter of days, students return to their classrooms – whether virtually or physically – for the start of the second half of the school year.

The latest announcement from the state offers $2-billion dollars to get the youngest and most vulnerable students back in person, hopefully by February.

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Salina Schmid is hopeful for the idea, as her 5-year-old daughter has autism and needs all the social time she can get.

“We’ve been doing this for so long,” she said. “Everyone knows what to do their part to stay safe.”

But she only wants to go back if it is safe. The state said that’s their goal – by providing money to schools to boost safety measures including testing and PPE allotments.

“They need to get back in school to have the social part of the learning process,” said Gary Applegate, a parent of two. He agreed with Schmid, but wants to see more details from the state before he believes this new plan to be true.

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David Fisher, the Sacramento City Teachers Association President, agreed.

“We do want to get back to in-person learning,” Fisher said. “But we’re going to follow the timeline that science dictates.”

That science includes Sacramento County making the grade before classrooms can open. The state requires counties to have a case rate of 28 new cases per 100,000 people. Currently, the county sits at about 43 new cases per 100,000.

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School districts already open are unaffected by the plan, and can still carry on as they have been. Though there’s concern from some parents about whether or not they should be open.

“I’m uneasy about it,” Kristen Mindus, a Rocklin parent said. She’s a high-risk parent, worried as some schools make the move to meet five days a week, and how serious other families are treating the pandemic.


“They’re not as careful,” Mindus said. “Making sure to keep their social distance and wash their hands as much as my son does.”

Roseville Joint Union High School District moves to five days starting next week and has drawn support from other parents.

“I feel as safe as we can be,” said Kathleen Wurster, a Roseville parent. “We have a child that wants to get back to school and loves learning.”

Linda Darling-Hammond, the state board president of the California Board of Education, said schools that are open can stay that way – because their protocols are already in place and working.

“Once you’ve got the teams and mitigation strategies in place – it is possible to remain open safely,” Darling-Hammond said. “But there’s a lot that has to be done at the beginning.”

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All eyes are on a February open date, but some parents aren’t sure it will happen just yet.

Heather Janssen