School Reopening Guidance Issued
The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), in collaboration with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and a committee of regional superintendents, is releasing a document of guiding principles and planning considerations that schools and districts should consider when making plans for opening the 2020-2021 school year. It is important to note each district is responsible for creating its own reopening plan.
The document – “Roadmap to a Safe Reopening: Key Considerations for Sonoma County Schools to Address the Challenges of COVID-19” – is the work of a committee of superintendents from representative local districts, in consultation with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services. It is in compliance with the most recent county health order and is adapted from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the California Department of Education (CDE), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH). It describes considerations and options for districts in the following areas:
- Health and safety protocols that should be followed to keep students, families, and school staff safe and healthy. These include but are not limited to guidance around face coverings, social distancing, transportation, monitoring student/staff health, hygiene, and cleaning practices.
- Instructional considerations for fostering social-emotional wellbeing and student mental health, as well as special considerations for serving special student groups.
Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, emphasized that the guidelines are meant to provide school districts with a localized roadmap for planning their school reopening, but they are not a mandate.
“Each school district will be dealing with their own circumstances in creating a customized plan that fits the needs of their community,” said Herrington. “However, it is important that we all work together to ensure that certain guiding principles are at the heart of every school reopening.”
Those guiding principles are:
- Protect student, staff, and community health
- Foster student learning and progress
- Maintain positive learning environments
- Foster student emotional health
- Care for our most vulnerable populations
This guidance is intended to help school districts plan for the new school year, with the acknowledgment that COVID-19 presents an ever-changing set of challenges. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, and as additional guidance from the State and Sonoma County Department of Health Services is issued during the summer, local school districts will adjust as needed.
“It is also important to note that opening schools successfully and safely will depend on adequate funding to support needed safety and scheduling,” said Herrington. “We are advocating for the passage of the federal HEROES act as well as additional financial support from the state legislature.”
Roadmap to a Safe Reopening: Key Considerations for Sonoma County Schools to Address the Challenges of COVID-19 can be viewed online here. More information is available at scoe.org/covid.