SANTA CLARA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Health officials in Santa Clara County on Tuesday released detailed COVID-19 guidance for school administrators to help them prepare to welcome students back to school campuses for the 2020-2021 school year.
The plan outlines the protocols and policies in place to protect students and staff from coronavirus. Developed in partnership between Santa Clara County public health officials and the Office of Education, the guidance provides detailed direction for schools on issues including safe practices for in-class instruction, school arrival and departure, bus transportation, use of face coverings, hand washing, campus cleaning, food service for students, extracurricular activities and other subjects.
The document explains specific actions schools need to take to prevent COVID-19 transmission and how to respond to possible cases in the school setting.
“We need everyone in the community to strictly follow social distancing now so that children and teachers can safely return to school in the fall,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody in a statement. “Schools and other institutions in our community can operate safely if they carefully follow all recommended public health practices, and they must move forward with their preparations now to ensure they have all the measures in place.”
Health officials said whether schools will be able to move forward with reopening for in-person instruction versus continued remote learning for the fall semester will depend on the containment of COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
“From the first shelter-in-place order which resulted in school closures that lasted through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, SCCOE, districts, schools and staff worked earnestly together to support students and families. Informed by safety guidance from the Public Health Department, meaningful educational experiences and essential services were provided while weathering unforeseen and unprecedented challenges presented by this pandemic,” said Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “We continue to learn a lot from this experience. This fall, while there is no doubt learning environments at schools will look different, our determination to provide students with quality education remains steadfast. Adhering to the guidance provided by the Public Health Department, we will work with districts and schools to implement reopening and recovery plans that continue to reflect our commitment to prioritize safety for students.”
The full guidance is available on the Santa Clara County Public Health website.