SCOE Affirms Support of Full School Campus Reopening for Fall
The Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Superintendents of Schools, in collaboration with the Public Health Officers in their respective counties, on Tuesday affirmed their support for full in-person instructional programs in classrooms for all grades in the fall with the continued use of face coverings and other mitigation strategies, if indicated by state and local health authorities at the time. County superintendents are reaffirming this position that they have held for some time now as the state reopens its economy and numerous county health officers signal their support for full-time in person learning as well.
They urged the schools and districts they serve to continue planning for how best to implement full-time in-person learning in the fall. They committed to working alongside local educators and providing needed training and support to ensure that the fall reopening of schools is as successful as possible.
“We are excited to move forward into full in-person learning for all students in the fall, while also continuing to closely partner with our county health officer in ensuring safe conditions for our students, staff, and families,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools.
During the pandemic, county offices of education established close working relationships with their county health officers and health departments. These relationships will be continued through the summer and into the fall, providing a strong foundation for a safe, science-based return to full-time in-person instruction.
Public health researchers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and local health departments have learned from the research and the experiences of classroom instruction from the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021. The science now shows that risk of transmission among children is low, particularly when community vaccination rates are high, masking is used indoors, and other safety measures are in place.
Throughout the state, many factors indicate that the risk of classroom transmission has decreased as community case rates have fallen. Additionally, each charter school and school district has worked hard to prepare a COVID-19 safety plan approved by the county health department and based on the best guidance of state health experts. Schools are well positioned to adapt these plans for fall instruction based on the latest guidance for schools. Additional guidance is expected to be provided by the Centers for DIsease Control and California Department of Public Health over the summer based on changing conditions, and schools will work closely with their county health departments to adapt to any changes in guidelines.
The current guidance for schools is based on evidence from the CDC that shows vaccines are extremely effective in protecting vaccinated individuals from infection, severe illness, and death, as well as preventing them from spreading COVID-19 to others. SCOE will continue to urge all eligible children and adults to take advantage of the widespread availability of vaccines. Increasing vaccination rates also helps mitigate the spread of new variants that are more likely to infect those who are unvaccinated. All persons aged 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and by fall it is anticipated that younger children may become eligible as well.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, free and effective, and are now available to everyone aged 12 and up. Visit socoemergency.org/vaccine to book an appointment or find a drop-in location at a pharmacy near you.