K-12 Schools In Orange County Are Now Allowed To Welcome Back Students
Starting today, K-12 schools in Orange County have the green light to welcome students and staff back for in-person instruction.
That’s because the county’s coronavirus case and test positivity rates have put it in the second most restrictive “tier” of the state’s coronavirus framework for two weeks.
Over the summer, when Orange County was still in the first tier on the state’s coronavirus monitoring system -- indicating “widespread” risk of community disease transmission -- schools needed waivers to reopen campuses. Cypress School District and Capistrano Unified had their waivers denied recently due to low support from their teachers and staff.
But that won’t have any bearing on their ability to reopen now that the county’s in the red -- or “substantial” risk of community disease transmission -- tier, according to Orange County Health Care Agency director and county health officer Clayton Chau.
“All schools, K through 12, by a state regulation are allowed to reopen for in-person education,” Chau explained.
“The decision” – of when and how to reopen – ”would rest on the school district and the school board and parents and teachers,” Chau added.
Districts like Fountain Valley, Cypress, Irvine, and Tustin Unified have said they’ll reopen campuses and welcome back students this week.
Even with the new permission to reopen, the schools still need to follow state guidelines, like physical distancing and mandatory masks for students in third grade and older.
But Chau said he doesn’t have the resources or staff to check on every school to make sure they’re complying.
“Remember, we have never had that kind of relationship with schools before,” he said. “The county is not an auditing body for school.”
Instead, Chau said the Health Care Agency is depending on parents and the public to let them know if a school’s safety promises differ from its practices.
We have posted the #OCCOVID19 cases reported to us today at https://t.co/XiphdjsVuR. Questions about the data as presented? Please read our FAQs here: https://t.co/kQNV1Rg8wn. Still have questions? Email ETeam@ochca.com or call (714) 834-2000. pic.twitter.com/eEyDf8UGgA— OC Health Care Agency (@ochealth) September 21, 2020
MORE OF OUR COVERAGE OF THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS:
- Elementary School Kids Are Back In Class At Los Alamitos Unified. Here’s What Day One Looked Like.
- As Schools Reopen In Orange County, Who’s Making Sure They’re Doing It Safely?
- LA County Schools Are Making Plans To Reopen Campuses For Small Groups
- Some California Students Who Fare Terribly In Distance Learning Could Return To Campuses
- Who's Applying For School Reopening Waivers in Southern California?