Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday spelled out the parameters that would allow in-person learning for some of the 6.1 million public school students in California. The rules would be daunting and in flux depending upon spread in individual communities.
“Learning remains non-negotiable, but neither is safety,” Newsom said during his regular daily press conference.
Newsom said schools could open for in-person learning if they have been off of the state’s monitoring list for 14 straight days and if they comply with local health officials, require masks for staff and students in the third grade and older, maintain six feet of space between staff and students, and perform appropriate screening, testing and contact tracing. And if they don’t meet those requirements, schools will be expected to provide for “rigorous” remote learning.
Newsom said he understood that parents and students preferred in-person learning and that, as a father, he does as well, “but only if it can be done safely.”
Schools that open campuses would be required to test a cohort of staff, perform symptom checks like temperature checks before students enter school, make hand-washing stations available, clean regularly and conform to quarantine protocols.
Schools that do open would have to close if 5 percent of the classroom cohorts had positive tests. The entire district would have to close classrooms if 25 percent of their schools reached that threshold. Students in any class with a positive test would be required to stay home and quarantine for 14 days.
How these rules affect Coastside schools remains to be seen. At present, San Mateo County is not on the state watchlist, but that could change at any time between now and mid-August, when schools are set to open. Cabrillo Unified School District board members met until after midnight on Thursday to discuss fall learning. The board plans to meet again on July 23.