Liberty seniors head back to campus, class


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Liberty High School principal Felipe Piedra makes sure some of his students are practicing social distancing during the first day of in-person instruction for the school. Seniors were on campus Thursday and Friday for the first time since last March.

After almost seven months of waiting, Liberty High School saw students walking to classrooms on campus and anticipating the return of more.


Liberty High School’s Class of 2021 returned to campus, as did seventh and eighth graders to Ranchos Middle School on Thursday, much to the delight of Golden Valley Unified School District staff and administration.


“We’ve been planning this since October, if not before that,” said GVUSD Assistant Superintendent Kevin Hatch. “The new guidance of Educational Services that came out March 20, which allows middle school and high school students to come back to campus even if you’re in the Purple Tier as long as your case rate is below 25. We’re taking advantage of that and jumping in.”


Liberty had seniors on campus Thursday and Friday before spring break hits next week. The following Monday, the rest of the grades will go on campus, but it will only be filled at 50 percent.


“We’ve been wanting these kids back on campus for a long time,” Hatch said. “The board and staff knew that once we got the green light, we were going to open in a couple of days That gives them an opportunity to work out any bugs in the scheduling and the flow of student traffic. They can make adjustments they need to make. When we come back April 5, it open up all the way, but it will be an AB model (50 percent one day and 50 percent the other day).”


Hatch wanted the seniors on campus first because they were the once that missed the most.


“We’re just excited to give them an opportunity to get back on campus,” Hatch said.


Hatch also wanted to note that the 50 percent number are 50 percent of the students that are comfortable with coming to school in person.


“In one way, it’s a sigh of relief to get them on campus,” he said. “However, we’re doing this in a very short period of time so there’s a lot of stress. We want it to go the way we want it to go. We’re guessing it’s going to be between 15-20 percent that will want distance learning.”


Hatch hopes that by allowing students on campus this year with guidelines, it will lead to a more open school when the 2021-2022 academic year begins.


“We are hoping to be in class full time next year,” he said. “If we can move earlier than that, especially with the new guidelines for three-foot distancing in the classroom, we’re looking at that, as well.”

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