Redwood City, CA–The county superintendents, after consultation with the public health officers in six Bay Area counties, have announced the extension of campus closures through the end of the school year.
Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara county superintendents, in collaboration with the public health officers in their respective counties, announced the decision to extend campus closures through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Schools will continue to transition from in-person classroom instruction to at-home and distance learning formats. School leaders will also continue to utilize campus facilities to distribute school meals and provide childcare or supervision as determined by local needs.
After recently announcing campuses would remain closed for in-person learning until May 1, Bay Area counties took action to review their closure timelines following statements by Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond suggesting that California’s students would not likely be able to return to campus for in-person learning for the remainder of this school year.
“The decision to further extend closures is critical for maintaining social distancing and protecting the health and safety of all San Mateo County and Bay Area residents,” explained San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. “We will continue to work closely with school leaders and adjust our orders and guidance once the data reflects that we’ve significantly stemmed the spread of COVID-19.”
This announcement comes as county public health officers continue to monitor the effectiveness of local shelter-in-place orders and adapt to both limited availability of COVID-19 testing and new information about the ways in which COVID-19 spreads in a community. Local officials are now recommending that residents wear face coverings when out in public and are requiring essential businesses to post social distancing protocols.
Building on their regional coordination in issuing the order for all residents to shelter in place, Bay Area counties have continued to work together to align strategies and practices in support of Bay Area schools during this unprecedented time.
“We find ourselves in an urgent public health crisis. Schools must be responsive to the needs of the greater community. By continuing to provide instruction to students at home, we can both support learning and do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19,” emphasized San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. “The questions about when to close schools – and when to reopen them – are, in large part, public health decisions. We highly value our collaboration with our public health partners and will continue to respect their authority in this matter.”
During this most critical phase of shelter in place and as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, residents, including all San Mateo County students and families, are urged to keep practicing the guidance provided by public health officers including:
- Staying home and limiting essential activities where possible
- Washing hands often with soap and water
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Contacting your healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
- Wearing face coverings (but not medical-grade masks)
- Adhering closely to social distancing guidelines
More information about San Mateo County schools’ response to COVID-19 can be found in the COVID-19 Response and Resources section of the San Mateo County Office of Education’s website.