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Independent Voice

Solano Schools Will Start School Year with Distance Learning

Jul 27, 2020 12:00AM ● By By Jennifer Leonard, Solano County Office of Education

State Officials Mandate Specific Counties to Hold Off on Reopening School Campuses

FAIRFIELD, CA (MPG) - On July 17, 2020, Governor Newsom announced mandates for public and private schools across the state, based upon the state’s county monitoring data. Previously, some Solano County school districts and charter schools made plans to reopen school campuses with varying models of social distancing, modified schedules, and distance learning options for students. However, the newly issued orders require that schools located in counties on the state’s County Monitoring List must begin the school year with distance learning from home. Solano County is currently on the state’s County Monitoring List due to recent increased in COVID-19 cases.

In a press conference, the Governor reviewed California’s Pandemic Plan for Schools which stated that using health data, schools may physically open when its county has been off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days. Schools within counties that do not meet that requirement must begin the school year with distance learning. The state’s plan also requires staff, and students in 3rd grade and above, must wear masks at school. Students in 2nd grade and below are encouraged to wear masks or face shields. Additional requirements in the plan include physical distancing, symptoms checks, quarantine protocols, and COVID-19 testing.

California’s Pandemic Plan for Schools also features protocols for COVID-19 exposure within school communities. The new directives cited in the Governor’s presentation stated that “a classroom cohort goes home when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case, a school goes home when multiple cohorts have confirmed cases or more than 5% of the school is positive, and a district goes home if 25% of their schools are closed within a 14-day period.” Local educators are expecting more details about what each plan protocol entails.

Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson commented on the new state plan saying, “Educators across Solano County are working tirelessly to design and implement solutions to meet a broad range of unique needs for thousands of students. Bottom line is equity for every student is critical. Our districts and charters schools will continue to be flexible, resourceful, and innovative no matter where instruction occurs on the first day of school.”

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond commented earlier this week that the quickest way to reopen schools is for every Californian to do their part: wear a face covering, wash hands, and practice physical distancing. While some evidence shows children are less at-risk for COVID-19, adult-to-adult transmission remains a concern statewide. Solano County Office of Education mirrors the State Superintendent’s message and continues to encourage families to stay attentive to illness prevention and hygiene protocols, including:

Stay in your home and isolate yourself if you are sick; Adhere to state guidelines for face coverings in public spaces; Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds; Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; Stay 6 feet or more away from others when outside of your home; Frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces

Solano educators are committed to being resilient, prudent, and passionate about creating the best learning environments possible, under very challenging circumstances, during this pandemic.

Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) provides leadership, support, and fiscal oversight for Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis, Vacaville, and Vallejo school districts which serve approximately 64,000 students. Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson is elected by voters of Solano County. The Superintendent is a state constitutional officer who serves as the chief executive officer of SCOE and as a liaison between local school districts and the state.