Newsoms Criteria Shuts Down OC Board of Education’s Decision to Reopen Schools in Fall

Monday the Orange County Board of Education voted to reopen schools for in-person learning in the Fall. Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference Friday regarding California schools opening their doors and Orange County doesn’t meet the state’s criteria to reopen.

Newsom is gauging the reopening of schools with health metrics. California’s case spike has Orange County falling within 31 of California’s 58 counties now on a state monitoring list for Covid-19.

Orange County’s placement on this list means schools in the county cannot open their doors in the Fall and must rely on distance learning. Schools may open when the Orange County has remained off the list for 14 days.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle “Schools in counties that get off the state’s watch list for two weeks will not automatically reopen in-person classes. Those decisions will be left up to individual districts and public health officers.”

OC Board of Education shuns social distancing and masks

The Orange County Board of Education’s white paper on opening schools did not recommend social distancing stating children represent the lowest risk of Covid-19 and social distancing is not necessary. Newsom put social distancing at the top of his criteria to reopen schools.

CNN reported “CNN contacted or gathered information from all 28 of the county’s school districts on Tuesday. Of the districts that responded or posted plans online — more than half — none said they would return children to school without masks or social distancing.”

The Orange County Department of Education’s white paper also touched on masks for students.

“Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult – if not impossible to
implement – but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not
recommended,” the white paper said.

Newsom’s Guidelines to Reopen California Schools

Newsom’s criteria to open schools applies to public and private schools and is monitored by the California Department of Public Health.

  • Social distancing will be implemented
  • Masks and face shields are strongly recommended for grades two and younger
  • Masks are required from third grade and up
  • Teachers will be checked for symptoms every day
  • Schools will take priority in California’s contact tracing program
  • If a school tests 5% positive then the school must close
  • If 25% of schools in one district close due to positive tests then the entire district must close

Distance learning gets a reboot

With schools having to rely on distance learning the state revamped it’s requirements for online learning.

  • Daily live interaction with teachers and students
  • Connectivity for all students
  • Devices for all students
  • Comparable assignments to in-class work
  • Adapted coursework for special education
  • Adapted coursework for English learners

OC Board of Education Reccomendations

The Orange County Board of Education produced a white paper with recommendations for reopening schools. The recommendations included thorough cleaning, good hygiene and temperature checks. The recommendations also included the following:

• K-12 children represent the lowest-risk cohort for Covid-19. Because of that fact, social
distancing of children and reduced census classrooms is not necessary and therefore not
• Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult – if not impossible to
implement – but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not
• Children play a very minor role in the spread of Covid-19. Teachers and staff are in greater
danger of infection from other adults, including parents, than from students in their classrooms.
• Participation in any reopening of public education should be voluntary. These guidelines are not “laws” or “regulations” or even “rules.” Parents, not government officials, are in the best
position to determine the education environment that best suits their children. If a school
district is unable or unwilling to provide that education, parents should be allowed to send their children to a district or charter school that will provide that education. Some parents with the means will opt for private schools or home schooling.

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Newsoms Criteria Shuts Down OC Board of Education's Decision to Reopen Schools in Fall