Gov. Newsom Orders Schools to Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction in Counties on State Monitoring List

Ameera Butt
July 17, 2020 - 12:23 pm
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    On Friday, Gov. Newsom orders the closure of schools for in-person classes for those Calfornia counties that are on the state monitoring list.

    They will shift to distance learning in at least 32 counties. This is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to the surge in cases, hospitalizations and infection rates across the state. On July 16, California reported 8,544 new cases of COVID-19. The state now has a total of 356,178 positive cases. There have been a total of 7,345 deaths in the state.

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    That includes Los Angeles County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County and Ventura County and counties up north like Alameda County, Marin County, Monterey and Napa.

    Both LAUSD and San Diego School District have already announced that their school year will start online and school campuses will remain closed. LAUSD starts Aug. 18. 

    Newsom said schools can physically reopen when its county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Schools that don't meet this requirement must begin the year with distance learning, according to Newsom. 

    Newsom said the schools in those counties on the watch list can't reopen in-person school until they are off the state monitoring list for two weeks straight unless the district superintendent requests a waiver from the county health officer, which may be granted.

    MASK MANDATE, HAND WASHING STATIONS, PHYSICAL DISTANCING

    For those schools that can open, there are new restrictions and criteria in place.

    Newsom said all school staff and students in third grade and above must wear masks. Students in second grade and below are encouraged to wear masks or face shields.

    Staff must maintain six feet between each other and with students. He said there will be symptom checks, hand washing stations, deep sanitation and disinfection efforts and quarantine protocols.

    There will be a requirement to test staff regularly.

    Newsom outlined when should in-person learning close?

    That's when schools should consult with a public health officer first. He said a classroom cohort goes home when there is a confirmed case, and a school goes home when multiple cohorts have cases or more than 5 percent of the school is positive.

    He said a district goes home if 25 percent of their schools are closed within a 14 days period. 

    Newsom gave a preview of what to expect on Thursday. 

    Earlier this week,  Newsom ordered the closure of fitness centers, houses of worship, hair and nail salons, barbershops in LA County, which is one of the counties on the state monitoring list.

    LA County Public Health officials also announced the closure of those sectors to mimic Newsom's order: Gyms and Fitness Centers, Places of Worship, Indoor Protests, Offices for Non-

    Critical Infrastructure Sectors, nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors, hair salons and barbershops, malls.

    Last week, Newsom ordered the closure of indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, zoos, movie theaters for at least three weeks for certain counties, including LA County, amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the state. Newsom has already ordered the closure of bars in LA County and other counties. Meanwhile, LA County, Orange County and Riverside counties decided to close their bars.

    The city of LA also ordered the closures of their gyms, hair and nail salons, barbershops and houses of worship.