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SAN JOSE, CA - Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that due to an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, Santa Clara County has moved back to the Purple or Widespread Tier as defined in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Further guidance about how this will impact the county can be found on the Santa Clara County Public Health Department website.
As defined by the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Santa Clara County schools that have not reopened for in-person instruction cannot open and must wait until the county has been in the Substantial (Red) Tier for 14 days. Schools that have already re-opened when the county was in a less restrictive tier can continue to operate as long as they're following the protocols that the state and county have put forward for the safe operation of in-person instruction. Schools that were in the process of a phased return to in-person instruction that have already been scheduled and put in place, can continue their phased opening of school campuses. They must maintain strict adherence to the guidelines provided by the Public Health Department, as listed in the Reopening of Santa Clara County K-12 Schools.
“To learn there is an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations is extremely concerning,” said Santa Clara County Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “The health and safety of our students and staff will always be our top priority. While this setback is disappointing, we will continue to employ all of our available resources so that we can act quickly and responsibly on behalf of our families and communities as they prepare to mitigate the spread of the virus and return to in-person learning.”
Elementary school waivers will be available. The process for obtaining a waiver will be the same as was practiced in August and September. Decisions around school sports have not yet been made. Distance learning hubs, small cohorts, special education assessments, childcare, and other programs that are currently open may remain open. Under the Cohorting Guidance that is outlined in the state’s COVID-19 In-Person Learning Framework, all schools and districts may offer on-site support and instruction to small groups of high-need students. The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) offers the Stronger Together website as a resource for school districts as they navigate through the pandemic.
“One of the hopes, of course, is that we can get this curve back under control, and get out of the Purple Tier. Not only does this allow other sectors to reopen; it would also permit schools that have not yet begun opening for in-person instruction to be in a position to do so once again. I cannot stress enough the importance of properly wearing a face covering, being diligent in frequent hand washing, practicing physical distancing, and limiting our social gatherings to those in our own households. I know this can be a challenge with the pending holidays, but we need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves and others,” Dr. Dewan added.
As a community, we have worked together before to overcome challenging times, and we will persevere to make significant progress once again. Our commitment to keeping one another healthy and safe is paramount to our ability to provide in-person learning for our youth and have the opportunity to make memories with friends and families in the New Year.
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.