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Public schools across Napa County will add in-person instruction Oct. 26
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Public schools across Napa County will add in-person instruction Oct. 26

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The Napa County Office of Education and four Napa County school districts — Napa Valley Unified and schools in St. Helena, Calistoga and Howell Mountain — announced Wednesday afternoon that the districts will open for a hybrid of in-person instruction and distance learning on Monday, Oct. 26.

This decision was reached jointly and is based on the guidelines provided by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the California Department of Education and the California and Napa County Departments of Public Health, the districts announced.

On Aug. 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California was adopting a new COVID-19 pandemic plan, called “The Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” to manage how and when the economy could reopen. As part of the new plan, schools are able to reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Red tier for at least two weeks.

When the Blueprint activated on Aug. 31, Napa County was categorized in the Red category and has remained in that tier. Pope Valley Union Elementary School District opened for in-person instruction utilizing a hybrid model for the district’s 52 students on Sept. 14.

NCOE and the school districts worked collaboratively to develop the reopening plans with staff and student safety as the guiding principle, officials said in a news release. The districts are working to finalize preparations to ensure a safe return with a hybrid of in-person instruction and distance learning.

The issues currently being addressed by the school districts include: implementing all California and Napa County Public Health guidelines for schools, confirming capacity for local widespread staff COVID-19 testing, recruiting and training substitute teachers to maintain continuity of instruction, arranging transportation as needed for students following all safety protocols, and final cleaning and preparation of facilities for use by staff and students. Once schools open to in-person instruction, school district administrators will continue to work closely with Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio to monitor the status of Napa County within the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers and current disease levels in the community, school officials said.

According to Barbara Nemko, Napa County superintendent of schools, “Napa County public schools have been open since August for full distance learning, and staff has been available to support students and families. As we move into this hybrid model that includes in-person instruction, teachers and administrators will continue to work diligently to provide your children with a high-quality education.”

Families and community members may access the reopening plans for each district on their websites listed below. In addition, the “NCOE Considerations for Reopening Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic” outlines the guidance each school district is following for the safe implementation of plans to reopen for in-person instruction.

The document can be found at napacoe.org/ncoe-covid19-information

The In-Person Instruction Plans for each school district can be found at: Napa Valley Unified School District – nvusd.org/phase2; St. Helena Unified School District – sthelenaunified.org; Calistoga Joint Unified School District – calistogaschools.org/families; Howell Mountain Elementary School District – hmesd.org; Napa County Office of Education – napacoe.org/return-to-worksite.

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