Seven Bay Area county health officers, in collaboration with their six county superintendents of schools have made a unified, regional decision to extend school closures and student dismissals from regular school attendance through May 1, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. School facilities may remain open to staff for the purposes of performing tasks deemed essential by the school district and county offices of education. Education will continue through flexible learning, meals will continue to be provided and, where possible, childcare may be arranged.
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on March 19, 2020, ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.
To reduce the strain on students, families, and educators during the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to waive this year’s statewide testing for California’s more than 6 million students in K-12 schools.
On March 16, San Mateo County Health Officer, in conjunction with the health officers of other Bay Area counties, issued an order that residents must shelter in their place of residence except to engage in certain essential activities and work for essential business and government services. Educational institutions are exempt for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions.
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has amended his previous order (March 12) to further limit the number of persons who may gather. Effective March 15, 2020, and continuing until April 6, 2020, public or private gatherings of more than 50 persons are prohibited in San Mateo County. During the same period, gatherings of fewer than 50 persons are prohibited unless hosts or sponsors implement all of the COVID-19 risk mitigation measures listed in the order. However, Dr. Morrow urges hosts and sponsors to cancel all such gatherings.
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow issued a School Operations Modification Order that will take effect on Monday, March 16, 2020, and remain in force through Friday, April 3, 2020, unless amended by the County or State health officer. The order requires all schools to dismiss students from regular attendance and encourages schools and school districts to implement at-home learning models if feasible. At-home learning might involve online content, paper packets, extended readings and research, at-home projects, or any number of options.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order ensuring California public school districts retain state funding even in the event that they dismiss students. The order directs school districts to use those state dollars to fund distance learning and high-quality educational opportunities; provide school meals; arrange for, to the extent practicable, supervision for students during ordinary school hours; and continue to pay employees.
In collaboration with San Mateo County Health, the San Mateo County Office of Education has developed a Pandemic Response for Schools, which provides steps schools can take to both prevent the spread of Coronavirus and plan for possible school closures with continued instruction and operations.