Millions of students in California returned to the classroom for in-person learning this school year, hoping their schools would not close if the coronavirus spread. So far, so good.
According to the state, California schools have been open for nearly a month longer than schools in most other states but have had a far lower rate of school closures. California educates about 12% of students in the nation, but according to the state, California schools account for approximately 0.5% of school closures.
“I think we’ve done an excellent job so far of keeping our kids in school and keeping our students and staff safe and healthy while they're at school,” said San Diego Unified School District Board President Richard Barrera.
The district tests 25,000 students every week, about a quarter of the district's student population, and the infection rate is “very low," Barrera said.
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Since July, there have been 10 outbreaks involving 10 of 200 schools in the district, Barrera added. While some people had to isolate at home, no schools had to close, and currently there are zero outbreaks.
"As we sit here today, we don't have any situations where students or staff are quarantining at home because they contracted the virus on campus,” Barrera said.
Chief of Staff for the San Diego County Office of Education, Music Watson said “California has really stringent mitigation measures compared to other schools…Obviously, masks are required inside, we still have some districts in schools that are doing physical distancing, a lot of emphasis on hand washing. There's also a lower transmission of COVID in the community in San Diego, compared to some other regions.”
“So far so good," said one parent who said her daughter wears a mask in school. But the winter months and holidays are ahead.
“What we know in the district is we have to always be prepared, that even though… we might be in a stretch that it seems like things are going in the right direction, it can turn, and it can turn quickly,” Barrera said, emphasizing the need for people to get vaccinated and get their booster shots.