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SAN JOSE, CA – Today, June 15th, marks the day when California fully “re-opens” its economy, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at an all-time low and vaccination rates continue to improve. The state adopted a new framework called "Beyond the Blueprint" wherein limited COVID-19 measures will remain, and all sectors that are currently subject to the Blueprint may return to usual operations.
While schools will no longer have to operate within the social distancing requirements that were previously mandated, face coverings will still be required while indoors in a K-12 setting as well as for other childcare activities.
Public health researchers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and local health departments have learned from the research and the experiences of classroom instruction from the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021. Therefore, based on scientific evidence, the risk of transmission among children wearing masks is very low.
The CDPH also noted today that in general, unvaccinated children and youth do not need to wear a mask outdoors, even if they cannot maintain physical distancing. However, per CDC recommendations, in areas of substantial to high transmission, people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact (including high-risk contact sports) with other people who are not fully vaccinated. "Youth settings" include K-12 schools and child care, and also cover day camps for youth, youth sports and other youth activities, including theater and music performances and band. Updated CDC guidance is forthcoming for youth settings.
Last week, the Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and San Francisco County Superintendents of Schools in collaboration with the Public Health Officers in their respective counties, reported that school administrators, teachers, and parents can plan for full in-person instructional programs in classrooms for all grades in the fall.
“Today’s announcements reinforce the confidence of our community to fully reopen our school campuses in the fall,” said Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “The key learnings from the past year help us ensure our school campuses are safe for students and staff.”
The current guidance for schools is based on evidence from the CDC that shows vaccines are extremely effective in protecting vaccinated individuals from infection, severe illness, and death, as well as preventing them from spreading COVID-19 to others. Additionally, increasing vaccination rates helps mitigate the spread of new variants that are more likely to infect those who are unvaccinated.
“The wearing of face coverings in schools complements vaccinations and helps protect people who cannot yet get vaccinated, people who may not get the full benefit from the vaccine, and people with weakened immune systems,” noted County Superintendent Dr. Dewan.
Eligible individuals aged 12+ are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. In preparation for schools reopening to full in-person instruction in the fall, vaccinations will be available through summer. For information about vaccination events and eligibility please visit sccfreevax.org. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at local pharmacies throughout Santa Clara County.
Executive Order N-29-20, which permits school boards to meet via teleconferencing, was extended by Governor Newsom on June 11. Virtual Brown Act meetings are permitted through September 30, 2021 under the extension of the executive order.
About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.