On Tuesday, the Alameda County Office of Education announced in a press release the extension of school campus closures for the remainder of the academic 2019-2020 year.
This decision aligns with five other Bay Area counties. According to the press release, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco county superintendents consulted with public health officers in their counties in making this decision.
The press release added that schools will continue to transition to at-home instruction and “distance learning formats.” Schools will continue to use campus facilities to distribute school meals and provide child care or supervision in accordance with the local community’s needs.
This decision comes after the announcement that school campuses would be closed for in-person instruction through May 1. After California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond suggested students would likely not be able to return to school campuses for the remainder of the school year, however, the Bay Area counties decided to complete the year with “distance learning.”
“This public health crisis is unlike anything we have faced in public education. I am proud that the public health officers and county superintendents have been able to come together to determine what is in the best interest of our students and their families. The input of our public health officers is essential,” said L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County superintendent of schools, in the press release. “We must ensure that we continue to do all we can to support our most vulnerable students, who may not have the same access to remote learning and healthcare services while maintaining the overall safety of our communities and flattening the curve.”
Bay Area counties will continue to work together in aligning strategies and practices to support Bay Area schools, according to the press release. The Alameda County Office of Education also highlighted that all residents, including county students and families, continue to adhere to guidance provided by public health officers.
Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Brent Stephens said in a districtwide email Tuesday that while the district has not officially extended its closure through the end of the school year, he plans to advise the board to do so at its next meeting on April 15.
Stephens also said in the email that he would like the board to revisit any decisions made in the event of changing public health guidance.
“This is a disappointing but not unexpected announcement,” Stephens said in the email. “It does help us clarify that our plans are likely to be for a longer term.”
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