CNUSD Elementary Schools Reopen


Anthony D'Amato, Staff Writer

The Corona Norco Unified School District opened its elementary schools on March 1st, 2021. The schools are open on a hybrid model in which students physically return to campus 4 days per week but for only 2 hours in person. Students receive an additional hour’s worth of assignments to do individually at home totaling 3 hours in the school day. To comply with laws about the number of students in a classroom at once, students have been split into two cohorts: the AM cohort and the PM cohort. Having two cohorts allows for no more than 16 students to be inside the classroom at one time. The AM group attends school in person for two hours and then completes their individual assignments in the afternoon, whereas afternoon students complete their individual assignments in the morning and attend school for 2 hours in the afternoon.

Once inside the classroom, students sit 6 feet apart from the next closest student as mandated by the school district’s TK-6 Safety Plan. Students and staff face numerous other strict guidelines including wearing a mask at all times while on campus, getting no closer than 6 feet to another person, and not being able to share items. The guidelines were set with hopes of reducing the risk and exposure of COVID-19 to both students and staff. This year, there will be no recess for grades 4-6, and brain breaks are only allowed for grades TK-3 if monitored by a teacher. The district will still provide lunch, but it will be in the grab-and-go format meaning that students will not be allowed to eat lunch on campus. Having lunch off campus reduces the chances of students coming in close contact with each other and is another precaution the district took to help limit any potential spread of COVID-19.

Elementary schools in the district were able to return because Riverside County’s daily new COVID cases per 100k were under 25 for 5 consecutive days. Highschools and intermediate schools have been unable to return so far because of Governor Newsom’s requirement for the county to be at only 7 new cases per 100k per day or less. At the time this piece is being written, Riverside County is at 8.9 cases per 100k. With the numbers in a constant decline due to the vaccination, it can be expected that high schools and intermediate schools will have the ability to return in the upcoming weeks. Should they be able to return, their schedule is different than the elementary schools. The hybrid model for intermediate schools can be found here, and high schools can be found here.

Should the reopening of elementary schools cause COVID-19 cases to spread amongst school campuses, the Corona Norco Unified School District has detailed plans. For example, a school site would be closed down and forced to go back online if 5% of the school population is infected and at least 3 outbreaks have occurred within a 14-day span. A closure would be expected to last 14 days, but a decision made in consultation with the Public Health Department could change the amount of time a school site is closed. The district hopes that its safety plans and guidelines are enough to keep students and staff safe as for the first time since March 13th, 2020 students return to the classroom.



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