California school reopening map shows private schools opening in-person where public schools aren't

The maps were released just before the new CDC guidelines for reopening schools

Alix Martichoux Image
ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Friday, February 12, 2021
Map shows private schools reopening where public schools aren't
New maps showing California schools' reopening status show private schools are reopened for in-person learning in districts where public schools aren't, especially in the Bay Area and Southern California. This comes as new CDC guidelines are released.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A series of interactive maps released by the state of California Friday show the reopening status of schools around the state, from public to private to charter. A side-by-side comparison makes one thing clear: private schools are reopening for in-person learning in areas where public schools have had their doors closed since last March.

Take a look at the public school reopening map, for starters. The map shows every public school district in the state color-coded: pale yellow for distance learning only, light blue for hybrid model and dark blue for in-person learning. There are also three tabs you can toggle between for elementary, middle and high school statuses.

Having trouble viewing the map above? Click here to open it in a new window.

Clicking around the map, you'll see public elementary schools have reopened for in-person or hybrid learning in much of Northern and Central California. But the Bay Area and Southern California are still dominated by districts in pale yellow, meaning they're only doing distance learning.

RELATED: Strong evidence in-person schooling can be done safely amid COVID pandemic, CDC says

If you toggle the map to show middle schools, you'll see even more yellow and less blue. When it comes to high school, there's not really any blue in densely populated areas. (High schools are typically last to reopen for in-person learning, as teenagers are considered higher risk for catching and spreading the virus than younger children.)

When you explore the state's map of private school reopenings, however, you'll see a different story.

Because private schools work independently from each other and not by district, they show up as dots on the map instead of regions. Zoom in closer to the map and you'll see lots of blue dots, indicating hybrid or in-person learning.

Having trouble viewing the map above? Click here to open it in a new window.

Take the Bay Area, for example. On the map showing public school reopening status, pretty much the entire East Bay is shaded yellow, meaning distance learning only. But on the private school map, you'll see blue dots from Richmond to Concord to Fremont. The in-person private schools are mostly elementary and middle schools, but even a few high schools show up in the Bay Area.

It's a disparity many public school parents have voiced frustration with. Even San Francisco Mayor London Breed has been pleading for her city's school district to move more aggressively toward resuming in-person learning.

The Centers for Disease Control provided a long-awaited roadmap for reopening schools Friday, emphasizing mask wearing and social distancing and saying vaccination of teachers is important but not a prerequisite for reopening. They said there is strong evidence now that in-person schooling can be done safely, especially at lower grade levels, and the guidance is targeted at schools that teach kindergarten up to 12th grade.

Take a few moments to explore the maps embedded above and compare them side-by-side. Clicking on a district or school reveals more information, like the amount of PPE or how much COVID-19 funding it has received.

The maps are still in the "beta" phase, says the state, and are still being filled out with complete data. The Department of Public Health also plans to add more information to the map in the coming weeks, such as data on COVID-19 outbreaks and more testing information.

You can see all three maps in a new window here:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.