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Newport-Mesa Unified School District in Orange County, California called students at the middle and high schools back to campus as of Jan. 25. The district anticipated a rise in coronavirus cases after the holidays and committed to three weeks online. Now, students will return in-person.

“Our Board of Education and school district leadership are committed to support safe in-person instruction,” said Superintendent Russell Lee-Sung in an announcement

“We will continue to closely monitor staff and student COVID-19 cases and the impact of COVID-19 to our workforce, who support students inside and outside the classroom.”

EMPLOYEES GET VACCINATIONS

Lee-Sung also said “healthcare employees” are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as part of the Phase 1a. Other teachers and district employees will receive vaccinations in Phase 1b. 

Phase 1b begins at the start of February and the state lists “education and childcare” workers under prioritized individuals. 

SOME ARE CONCERNED ABOUT RETURNING

Although vaccines have been prioritized and California has lifted its restrictions,  some people are worried about the in-person return. High school English teacher, Alex Goodman, told the Los Angeles Times he began teaching his classes outside last semester due to student concern about transmission.

“A lot of us are really worried about going back with things as bad as they are,” Goodman said to the LA Times. “It’s so hard to know what to do.”

Tamara Fairbanks, president of Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers, agreed with Goodman.

“As COVID-19 infection rates surge throughout the county, we do not believe that NMUSD has the consistent protocols of physical distancing, wellness screenings, and COVID-19 notification processes in place to keep our students, parents and communities safe,” Fairbanks said to LA Times. 

Written ByAshley Grams

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