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The wait is over for parents, students and teachers wishing to have kids back on school campuses in the Tracy Unified School District. TUSD announced during its Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night that the district will bring back students in grades 7th through 12th next Monday, just a week after bringing back its kindergarten through 6th grade students.

“Based on the authority that the board gave me last month – based on the fact that we are going to be allowed to by the state – It is my intent that our grades 7th through 12th would reopen on Monday, March 29,” said TUSD Superintendent Brian Stephens. “We would start the A/B schedule. It would be the current schedule that we have with the elementary kids – the hybrid concurrent enrollment with distance learning. We will put that in place. Because we thought we were going to get close to it, we've already done a lot of work to get ready. So I think our staff will be ready to step in.”

Under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, San Joaquin County is technically still in the purple “widespread” tier for positive COVID-19 cases. Originally state guidelines dictated that schools would be allowed to reopen for middle and high school students if positive COVID-19 case rates were 16 per-100,000 or less.

With these guidelines set in place, Stephens had intended to go to the board with reopening recommendations for the beginning of April. But as luck would have it, the California Department of Public Health released new guidelines on Saturday.

“The state’s updated guidance strongly recommends distancing of at least three feet for students in classrooms. The updated guidance also renders all schools eligible to open if case rates are below 25 per 100,000 population,” CDPH said in its Saturday press release.

San Joaquin County is currently at an adjusted case rate of 11.7 per 100,000, putting it well below the threshold.

“As a district we will continue to put all our efforts toward providing the best Hybrid/Distance Learning Concurrent experience possible for our students,” said Stephens in a letter to TUSD families. “For questions regarding school site health and safety measures please review your school Safety Plan on your child’s school website. We recognize that this year has been challenging, and we thank you for your continued efforts and commitment as partners in the education of your children.”

The school also previously posted on its website and social media channels for parents and students to stay tuned for information on plans for extra-curricular activities, such as graduation and other end-of-the-year festivities.

• Contact Brianna Guillory at bguillory@tracypress.com or 209-830-4229.

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