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Reopening in person school is up to all of us

Reopening in person school is up to all of us

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The recent news that schools located in the 32 counties currently on California’s COVID-19 County Monitoring List (including Napa) would not open for in-person learning was met with a collective groan from both parents and educators.

For parents, who have had to support their children’s distance learning often while juggling their own job, the hope that a return to in-person schooling would come sooner rather than later was gone.

For educators, who miss their students and understand how important in-person learning can be to a child’s development, the news came with frustration.

However, for both groups protecting the health of children, staff and their families is paramount, and there was also relief that in spite of the challenges with distance learning classrooms won’t open until it is safe to do so.

When can schools reopen for in-person instruction? There are two steps.

-- Napa County must be removed from the California COVID-19 County Monitoring List and remains off for two consecutive weeks. The metrics tracked for removal from the County Monitoring List include local disease transmissions rates, hospitalization and testing.

-- Once Napa County is off the County Monitoring List, schools must be able to comply with the mitigations recommended by the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and our local Public Health Officer.

We all want to see staff and students be able to return to school safely as soon as possible. What can you do to help?

I’m sure 99% of us can name the three things we’ve been asked to do since March: physical distancing of at least six feet, wear face coverings, wash hands frequently.

Unfortunately, this is not a pop quiz, and the right answer won’t solve the problem. What we needed to do was to do it. And we failed.

The rate of infection from COVID-19 has increased dramatically in Napa County during June and July, and each day we are getting farther away from bringing students back to school.

There’s a solution - follow the three simple steps above all day, every day and we will get ourselves off the County Monitoring List and back into school. Easy peasy.

With your help, we can turn it around and show the rest of California how it’s done. For more information regarding Napa County schools and educating under the Shelter at Home order visit napacoe.org/ncoe-covid19-information/.

Barbara Nemko

Superintendent of Schools

Napa County Office of Education

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