Four Bay Area counties can now resume in-person classes at all public K-6 schools after their rate of new coronavirus cases fell below the state’s threshold to reopen schools.
Public schools that have yet to resume in-person classes in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties can now do so under the state’s school reopening framework, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday during a briefing on the pandemic.
Prior to the state’s winter stay-at-home order, counties were required to remain out of the state’s most-restrictive purple reopening tier for two weeks to begin reopening schools for in-person classes.
Schools that had opened prior to the stay-at-home order taking effect in the Bay Area on Dec. 11 were allowed to remain open for in-person instruction, but unopened schools were barred from doing so.
With the average daily case rate per 100,000 residents for all four counties now under 25 for at least five consecutive days, the state has permitted each county to reopen all K-6 schools if they choose to do so.
“You’ll remember just a few short weeks ago, the state was knocking on the door of a case rate of 100 per 100,000 per day,” Ghaly said. “So, good news to see a number of counties below 25.”
Schools with grades 7-12 that have already reopened are also allowed to continue providing in-person instruction under the state’s reopening framework for schools.
However, schools with those higher grades that have not yet opened will have to wait for their county to leave the purple tier to do so, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Leaving the purple tier requires a county to record a rate of new cases per 100,000 residents below seven and a coronavirus test positivity rate below 8 percent.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has implored state legislators to approve $2 billion to support schools reopening amid the pandemic as the state works to vaccinate wider swaths of its population.
The fate of that funding package and the timeline for how soon teachers can receive vaccinations remain up in the air and could hamper the number of schools that reopen before spring.
Information on the state’s plans for reopening schools can be found at https://schools.covid19.ca.gov.