This past year has been uncertain and challenging for us all, but California parents can feel confident that schools are doing everything possible to make sure students and teachers can safely return to the classroom. We know so much more about COVID-19 than we did a year ago, and the science shows that, with the right safety precautions, schools can open safely.
Here is what California schools do to keep their students and teachers safe from COVID-19:
Develop and share a COVID-19 Safety Plan - All schools must post their approved COVID-19 Safety Plan to their website before reopening campuses. This includes a written description of their safety measures and a School Guidance Checklist to make sure that each safety measure has been covered in their plan. The following safety layers are covered in their plans:
- Mask-wearing for student and staff
- Hand washing and good hygiene habits
- Improving ventilation in classrooms
- Physical distancing of students inside and outside the classroom
- COVID-19 testing for students and staff
- Symptom checking at home or at school
- Responding to COVID-19 symptoms and positive tests
Use funds to increase support, materials, staffing and resources
California school districts have been given $2 billion to help keep school communities safe as they return to in-person instruction. This money may be used to support in-person classes including:
- COVID-19 testing
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Social and mental health support services
COVID-19 testing is key to keeping schools open. Regular testing for students and staff can quickly identify someone in school who has tested positive and find others that might have been in close contact with that person. Finding and quarantining those that have tested positive not only keeps students and teachers at school safe, but also families and their communities. This way schools can continue to stay open without any disruption to students' learning. Schools work closely with experts to make sure testing is done safely. For more information on school COVID-19 Testing, visit the COVID-19 Testing Taskforce website.
California prioritized vaccines for its teachers and school staff before reopening, and now that students 12 and older can get vaccinated, even more people at school will be safe. Many schools are helping teens and families to get vaccinated by hosting vaccination events on-campus. With more Californians getting vaccinated every day, we are moving closer to a return to normal.
When you look at all the care schools are taking to make sure students are safe, and the fact that COVID-19 rates in children are low, Californians can rest assured that in-person classes can be safe and successful for our children and our community.