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COVID Schools: West Contra Costa Unified School District Board Approves April 19 Return To Classrooms

RICHMOND (CBS SF) -- After a six-hour special meeting Friday evening, the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board voted 4-1 to reopen its 54 schools starting on April 19.

The vote -- with trustee Jamela Smith-Folds casting the only no vote -- followed a 12-hour negotiation session that spanned Thursday and Friday between the district and its unions. The agreement still needs ratification from union members.

The district spans public and charter schools in Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Pinole, El Sobrante and Hercules.

Under the agreement, students will be returning to classrooms from Monday through Wednesday. Student classroom cohorts will not exceed 15 students.

The deal also includes various safety measures such as universal mask-wearing, social distancing, ventilation and airflow requirements in classrooms, temperature checks, random bimonthly Covid-19 testing for students, mandatory testing for staff, and student home self-assessment health screening.

"I'm proud of the work everyone has done to get us to this point," WCCUSD Superintendent Matthew Duffy said. "I'm excited to welcome WCCUSD students and staff back on April 19 for those who would like to return."

The plan is voluntary for students and staff. Students will be offered the opportunity for in-person instruction during the regular school hours from 10 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

For students who choose to remain at home, distance learning instruction will continue between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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