The COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout Tulare County, impacting our schools to return to in-person classroom instruction. Tulare County Public Health is assisting schools as they plan and develop protocols for returning to the classroom once it’s safe to do so.
Tulare County Public Health will adhere to the guidance set forth by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which recommends that counties with daily case rates at or above 14 cases per 100,000 residents do not approve waivers for the reopening of in-person classroom instruction for students in grades TK–6.
Tulare County Public Health is considering the reopening of in-person classroom instruction for grades TK-6 with approved modifications.
For all grade levels to return to in-person instruction and all schools to reopen, per State Order and requirement, Tulare county must move out of the Widespread County Risk Level for a period of 14 consecutive days with daily case rates at or below 7 cases per 100,000 residents and a positive test rate of less than 8% to safely reopen all schools at all grade levels.
Ensuring the health and safety of children, teachers, staff, and all of their families is the top priority. It’s recommended that schools develop a reopening plan that meets the requirements set forth by CDPH and Tulare County Public Health. Prior to submitting for a waiver, the school superintendent or equivalent must consult with labor, parent, and community organizations to develop and publish a reopening plan.
School districts are welcomed to apply on behalf of all of their elementary schools with one waiver application. However, each school will need to have their own addendum to ensure that each unique site meets specific waiver criteria. To assist in determining which elements can be consistent throughout each site and which should be unique to the site, we've broken it down below:
Areas within the waiver requirements that will differ based on each individual’s school site:
Clarification of student body at each school site
Distancing- each plan must confirm that every classroom will have appropriate distancing to allow for a minimum of 6' between all students as well as other common areas i.e. office, hallways, etc.
Contact tracing- each school site must have identified individuals responsible for certain aspects of contact tracing- it should be made clear in each school's plan who is responsible for each element (this can be a specific person or it can be identified by a persons job title/role).
Sick persons on campus- each school should identify an isolation room when handling sick individuals on campus
Movement- Each school plan sold identify entrance, egress, etc.
Areas within the waiver requirements that can be the same between all schools in the district:
General safety guidelines and hygiene practices
Staff training and family training
PPE and face covering requirements
Symptom checking and health screening protocols
On August 25, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued Guidance Related to Cohorts (Cohorting Guidance), which sets minimum health and safety guidelines across multiple sectors serving youth, including childcare and schools (public and private). The purpose of the Cohorting Guidance is to establish minimum parameters for providing specialized services, targeted services and support for students while schools are otherwise closed for in-person instruction in ways that maintain the focus on health and safety to minimize transmission. Learn more by reviewing the following guidance documents: