Move into purple tier will stop school districts looking to offer in-person learning

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- After Governor Newsom announced that 28 California counties would be going back into the purple tier, the questions started coming in about what's next for school kids.

Schools that are already open for in person learning in these counties can stay open, but no school can open if they are located in a purple tier county.

RELATED: Newsom considering curfew as CA COVID-19 cases spike, 40 counties move to more restrictive tiers

"Our elementary schools will remain open!" said Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin.

He's reassuring parents that in-person classes will continue for the 2,100 elementary students already back in these Palo Alto schools.

Just over half of their elementary school families opted to come back for in-person learning.

Governor Newsom's announcement that 28 California counties will go back into the purple tier means no additional schools can open in those areas.

RELATED: Another Marin high school shuts down in-person learning after off-campus parties
Gabby Ruiz has four kids and lives in the South Bay. She isn't surprised that the counties are going back into the purple tier because she says people she knows are still having get-togethers and parties.

"Even though I would like my children to go back to school, I know it's not possible," says Ruiz who hopes that people are more responsible going forward, instead of blaming everyone else.

School districts around the Bay Area are in the same predicament. Santa Rosa Unified School District members met Monday night, but with Sonoma County staying in the purple tier they won't be able to open.

RELATED: Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under Newsom's new 4-tier system

Employees there say it might be able to open for in-person learning as early as late January.
Superintendent Austin says some of Palo Alto's students have been back for more than a month and they've had just two COVID-19 cases, and found that the virus was not contracted or spread at the school.

Austin is now hoping that Santa Clara County will move into the red tier so that middle and high schools might get a chance to reopen.

"Everyone has got personal opinions about what that has done to the economy, but I can tell you my professional opinion about what it's done for students, is devastating," says Austin.

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