Newsom Mask

Students in Contra Costa County will begin the new year at home until local school districts meet the requirements of a new five-step statewide plan laid out today by Gov. Newsom.

“Contra Costa County is one of 32 counties on the state’s watch list which also includes nearby Alameda, San Joaquin and Sacramento.

The five step criteria includes:

1. Safe in-person school based on local health data. Schools that don’t meet the criteria must begin the year distance learning.

“Schools can physically open when the county they are operating in has been off our monitoring watch list for 14 consecutive days,” said the governor.

2. Mask requirements. 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.

3. Physical distancing and other adaptions. Staff must maintain six feet between each other and with students. Symptoms must be checked regularly and there must be adequate hand washing and sanitation stations. A quarantine protocol must also be in place.

4. Testing and contact tracing. Staff will be required to be tested regularly and the state contact-tracing workforce will make schools a top priority.

5. Rigorous distance learning. New statewide requirements for distance learning include access to devices and the internet for all students; daily, live interaction with teachers and other students; challenging assignments equivalent to in-person classes and adapted lessons for English language learners and special education students. The governor added that the newly signed budget includes $5.3 billion in additional funding to help schools meet their quality requirements.

Schools with more than 5% of positive tested students must close and an entire district must close should over 25% of their schools have students who test positive for COVID-19.

The governor urged and encouraged everyone to remain vigilant and focused.

“The one thing we have the power to do to get out kids back in school is to look at the list again, wear a mask and physically distance,” he said. “This list and your individual acts can make a profound impact and move us toward our ultimate goal of getting every one of our kids back in the classroom.”

For more information, visit www.covid.ca.gov

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