Students, teachers head back to classrooms in West Contra Costa County

Bay Area

RICHMOND (BCN) — More than 27,000 students and 3,000 staff members on Monday are heading back to classrooms in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

It will be first day of 100% in-person instruction in almost two years for the district, which operates 54 schools.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst, who started the job in May, will tour six schools on Monday, starting at Betty Reid Soskin Middle School, recently renamed after the Rosie the Riveter National Park Ranger and social activist.

Hurst will also visit Helms Middle School, the district’s Virtual Academy School at Vista, Michelle Obama School, El Cerrito High School, and Lupine Hills Elementary School.

Michelle Obama School is the district’s newest rebuilt school and was also renamed before the 2020-2021 school year after the former First Lady. The school held a virtual grand opening celebration at the start of the 2020-2021 year but will welcome all of its students back to the rebuilt school on Monday.

“It has been an honor to work with the WCCUSD community to make this happen,” Hurst said. “We are excited to focus on students’ social-emotional well-being during our restorative start.”

The district spent the past three months working to reopen all of its schools for 100% in-person instruction. The district released its reopening plan on July 19 and is following the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Contra Costa County Health Services (CCCHS) guidance on reopening schools.

All students and staff are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors at district campuses and facilities. Additionally, the district requires staff members to either show proof of the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing.

The district is also following county health services recommendations and recommending all students get tested weekly for COVID-19. The district is providing free weekly testing at all of its campuses.

District schools’ safety measures include improved ventilation to classrooms and areas that need it, urging all those eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine and maintaining physical distancing where possible.

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