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Natomas Unified To Soft Reopen Next Week, Other Districts Still In Planning Mode

NATOMAS (CBS13) - Back to school is on top of many families' minds. Natomas Unified School District returns as soon as next week, while other districts linger in limbo.

"For my son, it's good news," said Galaum Nabi, who is eager for his youngest to be back in school. "He's always wanting to see his friends."

Back to school will soon be the reality for many TK-6th grade students in Natomas. Many will return on a small scale next week, before moving to a concurrent schedule the following week. The district's decision to return was seemingly made quickly as soon as Sacramento County's numbers dropped below 25 COVID cases per 100,000 people.

"We literally just cleared our schedule Wednesday and started calling board members," said Natomas Superintendent Chris Evans.

Though, CBS13 was told the plans were in motion for much longer, as tentative strategies and cleaning measures were created and put in place as far back as October. Superintendent Evans credits everyone working together.

"We've developed a working relationship with our teachers' association that was really helpful," Evans said.

But where do others stand and why aren't they at the same point? The Sacramento City Teachers Association has presented a five-point plan, asking for five things. That includes teachers getting vaccines if they so choose, proper air ventilation, mitigation, intervention for groups who need extra help and low community spread.

Plans are still being finalized. The teachers union and Sacramento City Unified are awaiting negotiations, but feel good about what's to come.

"We think that we're definitely moving towards in-person learning in the relatively near future," said David Fisher, SCTA president.

The Sacramento area's largest district, Elk Grove Unified, said they're still waiting on parent feedback and plan to have more to update soon.

Still, among most districts not already open, there aren't target dates set. Many parents still feel left in limbo.

"I'm ready for him to go back, too," said Dashay McKinnon. "I'm not really worried about coming back too fast. I just want to make sure they have good and proper protocols."

But no matter the situation, other parents still aren't confident and plan to keep kids home for the long haul.

"I don't think we should throw caution to this wind because everyone's tired," Tiffany Geter said.

Sacramento City Unified plans to propose their road to reopen plan to the school board on Thursday night. They'll have their first school staff vaccination clinic on Friday.

The Natomas Unified School District starts some classes on February 23.

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