The return to school policies: What will safety measures look like?


Yash Bachu

The Q building at Amador awaits students who chose to be in the hybrid cohort.

Yash Bachu, Staff Writer

Along with the many changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have closed amidst safety concerns. However, with this sudden change, many students have struggled with distanced learning academically, socially, and emotionally. As a result, the PUSD board of trustees has voted to return to school after two weeks of being in the “red tier” (here’s a link to learn more about the State’s color-tiered system) to enhance learning for students.

“It is a priority of district and school site staff to bring students back on campus for in-person instruction as soon as county health guidelines allow,” said Nimarta Grewal, Interim Principal of Amador Valley High School.

With an urge to return to school once permitted, AVHS will need to be safe for students despite the pandemic. To provide a safe environment for students and staff despite the pandemic, the Health department has implemented instructions for schools to follow.

AVHS will follow the county and state requirements to mitigate risk due to COVID-19. The health department (both Alameda County and California) provides guidance for schools about how to create socially distanced classrooms and hallways. We are in the process of preparing and finalizing school maps for the arrival, ingress, and egress of students,” said Joshua Butterfield, Principal of Amador Valley.

Amador has created a system for students to follow regarding getting to classes safely similar to other systems in place at stores.

“We are putting down kinda flow traffic stickers, we have signage boards that are going up all over campus… any student that has been out in the community or been to different shopping areas or Target, I think you will be used to seeing the kind of signage we are putting up,” said Butterfield.

The school will also try to minimize contact between students through a 2-1-2 schedule to restrain the potential spread of Covid by reducing class size.

The 2-1-2 schedule is splitting students who decide to return in the in-person model into two cohorts, a cohort A and a cohort B. Students would be returning in either cohort A that would meet in person on Monday and Tuesday or they would return in cohort B which would meet on Thursday and Friday. 

“What’s important for everybody to understand is that regardless of whether you are in a hybrid cohort or a remote learner you will follow the same exact bell schedule that you’ve been following all year long,” said Butterfield.

Along with standards for students and teachers to follow, the school is implementing sanitation and filtration systems to ensure the safety of everyone. 

“HEPA air filtration systems are being installed in classrooms in addition to the State and County-recommended MERV-13 air filters to improve airflow. Masks, which in addition to social distancing, are one of the most effective precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These will be required for all students and staff inside and outside of the classroom. Classrooms will also have hand sanitizer available for students to use, in addition to reinforcing regular hand washing,” said Patrick Gannon, Coordinator, Communications and Community Engagement of Pleasanton United School District.

As schools such as AVHS are urged to reopen, many measures will be taken to ensure the safety of students and staff to provide a better learning environment. 

“The most important thing for us now is that we won’t be able to consider reopening until Alameda County is out of the Purple Tier. This means having an average daily COVID-19 case rate of under 7 (per 100K), which we are at 20 as of yesterday, and a positivity rate of 5 – 8%,” said Gannon.