County further outlines school reopening possibilities

Cupertino High School opens new classrooms and science buildings

With nearly two weeks passed since Santa Clara County entered the state’s ‘Red’ tier, school reopenings may be coming soon.

David Putney from the County Office of Education gave an update Friday morning, hoping to provide clarity and resources. While some schools have had limited TK-Grade 6 reopenings already, those have occurred under the county’s rigorous waiver process. That effort have been aimed at assisting high-need students.

If the county’s COVID-19 data stays in the ‘Red’ tier, through September 22, more schools could reopen on the 23rd. That would mark 14 days since entering this new tier.

“If we maintain 14 days on tier 2 status – or better… then we’d be eligible to reopen schools. The first day would be the 23rd, this next week,” Putney said.

Schools that do reopen would have to follow strict guidelines from county health officials. Physical distancing, face coverings, and a wide range of health efforts were among the plans county officials detailed this summer.

Possible but unlikely

While parents across the region have been straining to support distance learning, most schools will not reopen in-person learning this coming week.

San Jose Unified, the region’s largest school district, announced recently that it plans to keep distance learning through December.

Local school districts will be in charge of deciding to reopen or not, with county support.

“Local education agencies here in the county will be making the decisions based on their own school community,” Putney said.

Top of mind for most parents and educators is around what happens if a COVID case is confirmed on campus.

“Public health would really guide the work with that level of exposure,” Putney said. He highlighted the desire for small cohorts of students, and potential quarantine/isolation if outbreaks do occur.

To read more about Santa Clara County’s school guidelines, click here.