Denair Announces Back-to-School Health Guidelines; Plan is for Students and Staff to Return to Class Aug. 12

Classes will resume Wed., Aug. 12 in the Denair Unified School District with students and teachers together to the classroom and plenty of safeguards in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All staff and students will be encouraged – but not required – to wear face coverings when minimal social distancing of 3 to 6 feet cannot be maintained. Frequent hand washing also will be encouraged.

These beginning guidelines – along with answers to Frequently Asked Questions in English and Spanish were released by the district on its website and Facebook page and emailed to parents today.

Denair’s plan was developed in coordination with state and county education leaders as well as county health officials.

“I want the community to know we are being thoughtful and strategic in our planning,” said Terry Metzger, Denair’s superintendent. “We have tried to think through how best to protect our students and staff while fulfilling our educational mission, but we recognize that circumstances in our community could change before school begins in August.”

With that in mind, the district’s plans include alternative scenarios:

  • A blended learning model that combines two days of face-to-face class time with three days of distance learning
  • A pure distance learning model that provides more structure than the system implemented quickly in mid-March when California mandated all students must learn from home. It would only be used if shelter-in-place orders were reissued because of increasing COVID levels.
  • An independent study option for students whose parents aren’t comfortable with them returning to a traditional classroom setting, who are medically fragile or need to be quarantined on advice from their doctor
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Denair Athletes, Cheerleaders Begin Conditioning Drills Under COVID-19 Limitations

It’s still uncertain whether sports will be allowed when Denair High School reopens to students in August. The COVID-19 pandemic – which cancelled all spring sports and required students to transition to all online classes in mid-March – hasn’t gone away. Maintaining social distancing, wearing face coverings and applying all appropriate safety measures will be encouraged if not required.

Melissa Treadwell, Denair’s athletic director, expects the CIF – which governs high school sports in California – to announce by July 20 whether fall sports such as football, girls volleyball, girls golf and cross country will be played and, if so, under what circumstances.

“Our goal is for our students to be able to play sports,” Treadwell said.

Meanwhile, supervised conditioning drills began this week for athletes in many fall sports, plus the girls on the various cheerleading squads. There are strict guidelines all schools must follow:

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Free Summer Feeding Program Features 3 Meals Daily; All Children in Greater Denair Area are Invited

All children 18 and under who live within driving distance of Denair Middle School are invited to participate in a free breakfast, lunch and supper program this summer. Children do not have to attend Denair schools to participate and there is no income or other eligibility restrictions.

The meals are prepared by the food services staff of the Denair Unified School District. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, food is distributed in a drive-through system in the middle school parking lot.

Meals are available Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, breakfast, lunch and supper is provided for that day. On Thursdays, enough food is distributed in two bags for three meals a day per child through the weekend, said Kim Fuentez, Denair’s food services coordinator.

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COVID-19 Health Crisis Affects Denair’s 2020-21 Budget

The ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact public education across California.

First, it pushed students and teachers out of their classrooms and into distance-learning mode for the final two months of the school year. That was an important and necessary effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Now, COVID is affecting the financial capacity of districts to keep programming where it was before the crisis hit. That’s because state revenue has plunged during the pandemic with many businesses temporarily shuttered and tax receipts drying up. That directly hits education funding, which Gov. Newsome proposed to slash by $15 billion in his 2020-21 budget revision released in May.

Thursday night, Denair Unified School District trustees learned just what that potential cut means to their four campuses as they approved a bare-bones $14,539,016 budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. By comparison, this year’s budget was $15,344,091. About 80% of the district’s budget is dependent upon state funding.

“This is no normal year. And this is no ordinary May revision,” said Linda Covello, the district’s chief business official.

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Steamy Denair High Gym a Thing of the Past as New Air Conditioning Units Installed

DENAIR – The Denair High School gym long has been known as a hot, humid, uncomfortable place to play or watch a game or hold a schoolwide rally, especially in the warmer months of the year. Now, thanks to a multimillion-dollar air conditioning upgrade, students, staff and community members no longer will have to swelter.

Tuesday morning, a large crane lifted two 25-ton heating and air units into place on top of the gym. When they’re connected and turned on, the cool confines of the gym may be the place to be on sunny summer afternoon.

That’s rarely been the case in the past.

Principal Kara Backman said the gym could get as high as 94 degrees. Boys basketball Coach R.J. Henderson described conditions as “miserable” during youth basketball camps in the summer. “It was hotter inside than outside,” he said. Athletic Director Melissa Treadwell used to bring in large fans to try and cool the gym before events.

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