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BCSD says it plans to bring elementary students back to campus March 22

The Bakersfield City School District announced it plans to open its campuses to elementary school students for the first time since COVID-19 shut school sites down. Should BCSD's plan succeed, it would become the largest district in Kern County to open its campuses. 

According to a staff memo sent out Tuesday by Superintendent Doc Ervin, the proposal returns students in preschool through second grade for in-person instruction beginning March 22. Students in grades third through sixth would begin March 24. There is no date announced for junior high students to return.

In-person instruction for self-contained special education students will resume March 15 after it had been paused in fall. Staff are expected to arrive on site three school days before their students planned arrival. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a push from Gov. Gavin Newsom to bring elementary students back for in-person learning. Panama-Buena Vista Union, the second largest elementary district in the county, announced last week its plans to bring back elementary students to campuses in March.

New state guidance allows elementary schools to open in the purple tier when the new case rates of COVID dip below 25 cases per 100,000 per day for a week. Ervin noted that the Kern County Department of Public Health reported a rate of 26.8 for the past seven days "suggesting improvement and decline in the future."

The memo states that employees are expected to report to work on the dates listed, but the dates of bringing students on campus could be subject to change depending on county rates of COVID. Staff members who are unable to return to work because of COVID-19 concerns are asked to contact Human Resources.

"Please use the information below for planning purposes, recognizing that our students have been out of school for nearly an entire year," Ervin wrote.