Days before some El Dorado County schools are set to open, teachers at Rescue Elementary School are preparing their classrooms for students. Like every year, colorful borders line the walls, cubbies are labeled, and classroom rules are prominently displayed.
Some of those rules now include, “I can sit 6 feet away,” and “I can clean my tools.”
Plexiglass, used for personal protective equipment, is placed between desks in some classrooms.
That’s because most of the 500 students at Rescue Elementary will return to school on Monday, in person, visiting classrooms for the first time in five months.
Rescue Union School District, home to 3,700 students at its five elementary schools and two middle schools just outside of El Dorado Hills about 30 miles east of Sacramento, is able to open since the county has remained off of the state’s monitoring list and complied with the long list of requirements to reopen.
Masks are mandatory for students in third grade and older, desks are 6 feet apart, and teachers are sanitizing desks between class sessions – all the safety protocols spelled out by the state and local health officials in recent months.
Not all El Dorado County schools physically opened, however, including the high schools in the region. And nearby schools in Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties have been unable to open during the coronavirus pandemic, as the region faces challenges in bringing case numbers down.
The state offered waivers to elementary schools, but with data errors in the system, Sacramento health officials put a hold on those plans.
That leaves Rescue’s nearly 3,000 students – some of the only students in Northern California – preparing their backpacks, and boarding school buses to attend classes five days a week.