All K-12 schools in San Luis Obispo County were given the green light to begin the process of reopening with modifications on Tuesday, after the county met the two-week mark in the state's COVID-19 red tier.
The majority of schools in the county have been closed since the initial COVID-19 shutdown in March. Since then, 13 schools have resumed modified in-person instruction for grades K-6 under the state waiver process, which required both county and state approval.
Now, schools interested in reopening will have to submit a modified reopening plan to the county Public Health Department for approval, and follow all state COVID-19 guidelines upon resuming in-person.
“Local schools are not required to reopen for in-person instruction, but they may choose to reopen if they implement the state’s COVID-19 guidance for schools and school-based programs," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County health officer.
Under these guidelines, schools must allow adequate spacing between individuals in classrooms, transportation and other school facilities, implement cohorts to limit mixing between groups, limit sharing of supplies, regularly test staff for COVID-19, and implement screening procedures for students and staff.
Schools will not be required to close again if the county regresses to the purple tier, the state's most restrictive COVID-19 phase, according to state guidelines.
Several schools are planning to begin with a hybrid model, with students split into two groups. One group would learn in-person on certain days of the week while the other group would continue with distance learning, limiting the number of students on campus at one time.
Schools in Santa Barbara County will be granted the same permission next Tuesday, if the county continues to meet red tier metrics for another week.
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