Nearly a year after school campuses in Sonoma County were closed to the growing coronavirus pandemic, classroom doors in a small number of schools are set to open as early as Monday.
That’s when Sonoma Charter School should open its doors to kindergarten children and first and second graders. On Wednesday, a Liberty school in northern Petaluma plans to return students and staff.
They are likely to be followed by four more schools and neighborhoods approved by Sonoma County Department of Health to return students and staff to campus on modified schedules and in completely different regimes.
“It’s like opening a school, but on a different planet,”
Sonoma County Health Services has COVID safety plans from 24 schools and districts in Sonoma County. The plans of six schools, including those from Sonoma Charter and Liberty School, were approved, paving the way for schools to reopen for modified personal learning.
These schools and districts are joining the 10 schools – nine of which are private – that were vacated to reopen in October, subject to state approval of their safety protocols. This denial program was halted in late November as virus cases across the country began to increase, but schools already allowed were allowed to continue.
At a community briefing on Wednesday, District Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Masse described the safety plans of the six schools and districts authorized to open as “stellar.”
“We will announce more schools to open soon,” she said.
Also Wednesday, Sonoma County’s largest school district, Santa Rosa City Schools, approved plans to return about 5,000 elementary school students on April 1 and 2 and nearly 11,000 high school students starting April 26 and 29. .
Santa Rosa’s plan is based in part on the county’s expected relocation from the purple level, the most restrictive phase of the state’s coronavirus-encoded plan, and to red, which shows a significant but not widespread spread of the virus.
Once in the red, the rules for returning staff and students to campuses change, and schools and neighborhoods no longer need district health department approval to reopen. Going red would also clear the way for county and high school students to return to the classroom – something that was not allowed in the purple layer.
Meanwhile, Santa Rosa’s COVID safety plan remains in the process of being reviewed by the county. The revisions were received by the county on February 23rd. The county’s response to these changes is expected on Thursday.
The Windsor Unified School District has a plan in place and should also receive a response from the county to its revisions by Thursday. The county’s response to the changes filed by Wilmar Union, west of Petaluma, is due to appear on Tuesday, and Two Rock Elementary, also west of Petaluma, will receive notification of its revisions by Wednesday.
If a school opens at least one full personal education class, that school can stay open and continue with its reopening strategy, even if Sonoma County falls back to the purple level.
“Once that happens and the schools open, even if we go back to the purple layer, the schools stay open,” Masse said.
Like many proposed school return plans being considered by the county, Sonoma Charter School will open Monday with personal instruction for first, second, and second grade kindergartens only. After the spring break, on March 29, older classes will begin returning to distance learning part-time, part-time, Elin said.
But on Monday, campus doors will open for a class of kindergarten students who have never seen the inside of their classroom, as well as first- and second-grade students for whom life on campus may be little more than a vague memory. .
Since each of the three returning classes has only one class of students, school staff have been able to divide them into two stable groups who will attend school all day four days a week, Elin said.
“These kids have been on screen for so long,” Elin said. “What we like about bringing them back to campus is that they’re in a more traditional model, a more physical model. They no longer look at screens, but an adult. “
You can contact staff writer Carrie Benefield at 707-526-8671 or email@example.com. On Twitter @benefield.