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Schools get ready to start in the fall, what are classrooms going to look like?

CENTRAL COAST (KION) As parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school, school districts are sharing their plans to keep their students and staff safe from COVID-19.

This comes as the California Department of Public Health updated its guidelines to make masks mandatory indoors for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status.

The Pajaro Valley School District released their back-to-school COVID-19 prevention plans on their website, as every school district is required to do so. Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, says all students will still be maintaining at least three feet of social distancing in the classroom. However, it's not required by the CDPH.

Because of this, class sizes will be reduced, specifically in grades four and up. As for the lower grades, class sizes will remain under 24 students, allowing for social distancing accommodations.

"In some of our cases where our students are medically fragile and they can't wear masks, they will be up," said Dr. Rodriguez. "But, in most cases, the plexiglass has been removed."

However, over at the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Manuel Nunez, says they are planning to return classrooms to their normal size.

"Our classrooms are looking a little bit different," said Dr. Nunez. "Social distancing is not something that has been recommended and so our classrooms are set up in that manner to have all students be there as they would normally be pre-covid. So we understand that there's still this nervousness around this but we want to ensure our families that we are following the guidelines that have been established by the Department of Health in Monterey County."

MPUSD is hosting a town hall tonight to discuss how in-person instruction is going to look like in the fall.

Maria, a Watsonville mother, said she's ready for her daughters to go back to school, however, she wants to be sure they are safe when out on the playground.

"There should be more social distancing, and during games, there needs to be more attention for the younger kids," she said.

Regardless, her children are excited to be back this fall, as the pandemic weighed heavy on their mental health.

"From my point of view, the girls have had anxiety and depression," she said.

Schools will be posting signs all throughout their campus reminding students to keep their masks at all times as well as where they can find the nearest hand sanitizing station.

While there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before school starts, schools and students say they are happy to find some sense of normalcy once again.

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Dominoe Ibarra

Dominoe Ibarra is a producer and editor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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