Elementary students head back to class Jan. 25

By Debra Moore

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Kindergarten through sixth-grades students are returning to school for in-person instruction Monday, Jan. 25. High school students aren’t slated to return until March 1.

During an interview the morning of Jan. 22, Plumas Unified School District Superintendent Terry Oestreich, said that she has been working with local public health officials to ensure that all is in compliance with state guidelines. “Dr. Mark Satterfield and Andrew Woodruff have assured me that we’re good to go,” she said.

She also noted that all staff who would be in the classroom and who wanted the vaccine will have had at least one dose by Monday’s return date. A number of teachers were vaccinated Jan. 16, with more planned for Saturday, Jan. 23. (The vaccine is believed to be 50 percent effective two weeks following the first dose; and up to 95 percent effective two weeks following the second dose.)

The school board decided Jan. 13 to return the elementary school students to classroom sooner than their older counterparts because they are less likely to transmit the virus and because it’s been shown that virtual learning is more difficult for the lower grades. The March 1 start date for high school students, where transmission has been shown to be greater, will provide staff the opportunity to be fully vaccinated.

Oestreich said that seven surrounding counties have all returned to in-person learning, so there was some pressure to do the same. Plumas Charter School has offered in-person classes following the Christmas break and Executive Director Taletha Washburn reported no issues to date.

“Everything is going fine,” Washburn said Jan. 22. “No cases at school sites to work around; there are some adjustments to protocols that are being made in response to the new state guidance — nothing noteworthy though, just that we are adjusting.”

Plumas Charter students have the option of on-site or virtual learning, as will Plumas Unified students.

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