DANVILLE, Calif. (KRON/AP) – Officials with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District on Tuesday released a statement saying it will welcome students back onto elementary school campuses beginning Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Starting Wednesday, students in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through Grade 2 will return to campus as part of the district’s multi-phase hybrid plan – which includes in-person and remote learning).

“I am profoundly grateful to see this day arrive, and to watch our dedicated staff welcome students back to their campuses, and, in the case of our youngest children, to see them come to school for the very first time.”

superintendent dr. john malloy

“Not every student is ok in a remote space, and we know that. We’re not able to reach every student, we’re not able to support every student, and for that alone, this is a really important next step for us to take,” Superintendent John Malloy said. 

Superintendent Dr. John Malloy says the district’s push to resume in-person instruction is backed by the labor unions representing teachers and staff.

“At this point, we have memorandums of understanding with all three union groups,” Malloy said. 

The District’s multi-phase plan over the coming days includes the following:

  • Wednesday, February 10: Preschools and grades TK-2 return for general education and special day classes
  • Friday, February 12 and Monday, February 15: No school (Teacher Work Day and President’s Day Holiday)
  • Wednesday, February 17:  Grades 3-5 and Special Day Classes districtwide can return for in-person instruction; 6th grade “core” classes (Language Arts and Social Studies) can return to middle school campuses (pending Board approval Tuesday evening)
  • Grades 7-12: Since Contra Costa County only allows in-person instruction for grades TK-6 while the county remains in the Purple Tier of California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” the District must wait until Contra Costa moves to the Red Tier before general education classes can resume on high school and middle school campuses for grades 7-12.
  • *It is important to note that, as in-person instruction resumes, enrollment numbers will be lower at all campuses as many families have elected to remain in remote learning through the end of the school year.

“At this time, we have about 10,000 of our students who are returning to a hybrid in-person model, and we have about 25,000 of our students who are still learning remotely,” Malloy said. 

To learn more about this plan, visit the district’s website.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention said in a recent study that there is little evidence of spreading the infection at schools when proper precautions are taken, such as masks, physical distancing and proper ventilation.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he will not force public schools to reopen but instead wants to “incentivize” them and has proposed a $2 billion plan that has met criticism from superintendents, unions and lawmakers. Clearly frustrated, Newsom last week implored them to find a solution to reopen.

“If we wait for the perfect, we might as well just pack it up,” Newsom said during a video meeting of the Association of California School Administrators.

The plan Newsom unveiled Dec. 30 would give schools extra funding for COVID-19 testing and other safety measures if they reopen. Elementary schools that reopen to their youngest students by mid-February would get more funding than schools that reopen later, and schools that don’t submit an application don’t get to tap the fund.

The proposal, called “Safe Schools for All,” sets no timeline for middle and high schools. The plan set a Feb. 1 deadline for districts to file COVID-19 safety plans to qualify for the funding, but that deadline will pass Monday without the legislative approval needed to start the program.

Newsom told educators in blunt terms that he is willing to negotiate but certain demands, including the call by unions to have all teachers vaccinated before school starts, were unrealistic given the shortage of vaccines.

“If everybody has to be vaccinated, we might as well just tell people the truth: There will be no in-person instruction in the state of California,” Newsom said Thursday.

The same day, the California Teachers Association sent the governor a letter again criticizing his plan.

“The virus is in charge right now and it does not own a calendar,” the letter said. “We cannot just pick an artificial calendar date and expect to flip a switch on reopening every school for in-person instruction.”

The largest school districts — Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, Long Beach, San Francisco and others — say the plan sets unrealistic rules and timelines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.