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Students adapting to COVID-19 protocols; take them seriously; happy to be in class
seniort sunrise
Lathrop High seniors on Monday continued a Spartan tradition by marking their first day back on campus for their senior year by staging Senior Sunrise. Seniors gathered in the Lathrop High student parking lot under cloak of darkness to be together with classmates as the sun rose. Freshmen and sophomores will join juniors and seniors for in-person learning starting Nov. 16. - photo by COURTESY OF WAYNE THALLANDER

Less than 2 percent of the Manteca Unified students heading back to campuses this week failed to get a “green light” through the daily self-check health assessment.

And among the 180 student and staff out of 14,714 self-checks, a number had inadvertently marked the wrong answer. Subsequent follow-ups with their school sites allowed them the necessary clearance to resume in-person learning for the first time since mid-March when Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 116 students and staff out of 7,576 not initially certified after taking the self-check on Monday. The number was 74 out of 7,138 on Tuesday.

Any one of the following symptoms — fever above 100.4 degrees, sore throat, a new uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing outside of their norm, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, new onset of a headache especially with a fever, or loose of taste or smell — will prohibit students of staff members from being able to go to school.

Many of those symptoms are also common of someone with the flu or other illnesses.

Based on the results students or staff receive either a green check or a red stop sign. The green means it is safe for them to go to school. A red stop sign will direct a student to stay home and contact the Manteca Unified School District Health Services between 8 and 11 a.m.

Manteca Unified Community Outreach Coordinator Victoria Brunn  pointed out the self-check form is not a waiver of liability as some parents have thought. They are simply an assessment procedure.  

“Students were excited to be back at school,” noted Jenni Tyson, who serves as Manteca Unified director of elementary education.

School site administrators have noted students understand the complexity and seriousness of the situation that COVID-19 has created. They report compliance with protocols and a genuine concern by students to do the right thing.

The district opted not to bring any students back — even though they had secured the state allowed waiver for TK through sixth grade — until such time San Joaquin County was moved from the most restrictive tier to the one it is at today.

The return to campuses that started this week marked the end of the mandatory two-week period after a county drops into a lower tier  for in-person learning to resume at schools that did not retain a waiver.

Superintendent Clark Burke noted the district has been committed to reducing the risk of students returning for in-person learning.
And while schools have the option of staying 100 percent with the distance learning model, Burke noted that would have significant negative impacts on students.

The district so far has spent $17.1 million in COVID-19 related precautions.

 “Learning loss is real,” Burke said. “The cost (the money spent so far on precautions) is well worth it.”

Burke pointed out in-person learning is much more effective than distance learning.

“Our job is to educate students,” Burke added, noting the district at the same time is committed to a safe learning environment.

Burke lauded teachers and the support staff for their efforts in devising a safe return to school plan and implementing it.

Fourth graders through high school sophomores will return to campuses starting Nov. 16.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email