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Lodi Unified School District spokeswoman Chelsea Vongehr listens to comments from parents Amanda Oliver, left, and Angela May during a protest against distance learning at Lodi Unified School District offices on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that students are scheduled to return to school Aug. 3. The district is exploring a three-week preparation period with a potential full-time return on Aug. 24, but that schedule has not been voted on by district trustees.)

After five hours of discussion and debate, the Lodi Unified School District Board of Education finally decided on an educational plan for the 2020-2021 academic year Wednesday night.

The board voted 5-2 during its special meeting to have nearly 30,000 students return to school full-time, five days a week, with health and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, families who are uncomfortable sending their child to school in the fall will be allowed to enroll in the district's distance learning program.

In addition, the school district is exploring starting back full time on Aug. 24, rather than Aug. 3, to give staff, students and teachers time to prepare for what will be a different kind of learning environment.

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