San Rafael, CA – As Marin County and the State of California make strides toward reopening local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marin students and parents now have more clarity on what classroom instruction will look like as schools plan to resume in Fall 2020.
On June 18, Marin Public Health and Marin County Office of Education issued A Public Health Guided Return to Site-Based Classroom Instruction.
The document provides guidelines to help facilitate and return to site-based classroom instruction and applies to all Marin County educational institutions, including public, private, independent and parochial TK-12 schools.
“The goal is to see children and staff return to the classroom, and to do that as safely as possible” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “We’re partnering with our leaders in education to think creatively, following these guidelines. Classrooms will look different than they did last year, but they’ll be open.”
For younger students, the guidelines leverages the concept of stable classroom cohorts, where students maintain the same group of classmates throughout the school day. These cohorts will utilize a synced schedule for arrivals, classes, lunch and recess to help prevent mixing of classroom cohorts. In addition, creative use of school space for learning and lunch breaks will maximize physical distancing and cleaning opportunities.
The guidelines also include protocols for COVID-19 related scenarios and enforcing health and safety practices of hand washing, physical distancing, appropriate face coverings, and health screenings. The full guidelines are available on the Marin County Office of Education website.
Public Health and the Office of Education may modify these guidelines as any new science and data come to light, including any changes in the status of the pandemic during the school year.
“Even with the amazing work of schools and parents, we know that remote learning was not working for all and that many students were being left behind," said Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools. "We also know that the social emotional needs of our children are best met through the special relationships that are developed with their peers, their teachers, and school staff. The best place for students is in their schools. Using the extensive guidance provided by our Public Health partners, we know our schools have the commitment and creativity to do this, and to do it well."
Marin’s guidelines follow recommendations for safe school reopenings issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Department of Education.
Marin Public Health has guidance and resources related to COVID-19 available at: MarinHHS.org/Coronavirus. In addition, individuals can contact Marin HHS with non-medical COVID-19 questions by calling a dedicated information call center at (415) 473-7191 or by email.