Bay Area schools plan to stay open in spite of any COVID cases

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Bay Area schools plan to stay open regardless of any COVID cases
Despite confirmed cases of COVID-19 at some Bay Area schools, school officials say there are no plans to shut down.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Despite confirmed cases of COVID-19 at some Bay Area schools, school officials say there are no plans to shut down.

Every Monday, Brentwood Union School District updates its COVID-19 cases and exposures.

Since students returned to school less than two weeks ago, BUSD has already reported 19 positive COVID-19 cases, 17 students and two staff members.

There have been 56 students exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 who have not tested positive. And 117 students and four staff members demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 who have not tested positive.

BUSD says it intends to follow all state guidelines to prevent the spread of positive cases at the school and that it has no plans to close schools.

RELATED: Bay Area school districts ready for return to in-person learning despite COVID-19 Delta variant

The district is not alone. We spoke with representatives from several school districts around the Bay Area who all had the same response.

"The protocol has changed dramatically within the California Department of Public Health's guidelines with the emphasis being that all schools will stay open and all students will have access to in-person instruction. That's this years focus. Last years focus was shelter and protection, this year's focus is full integration of activities within a school setting," said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools.

Sonoma County like most is requiring students and staff to wear masks indoors.

Anyone who experiences COVID-19 symptoms would be isolated and tested. While a person who tested positive for COVID-19 would not initially return to school, others who had contact with that person could return immediately so long as they were masked when the contact occurred, don't have any COVID-19 symptoms and agree to twice weekly testing over 10 days.

WATCH: Doctor shares 5-point COVID strategy for getting kids back to school safely

These are the five things this top US doctor says schools can do to help protect children returning to in-person learning and to mitigate the spread of COVID.

"Because of the social emotional distress that students experienced last year by not having a school setting they've put a different emphasis on students in the school setting and interaction," said Herrington.

Sonoma County's Superintendent of Schools says approximately 5% of the county's secondary school population has opted for independent study this year, but that was before the Delta variant.

"I believe they will have an uptick in the number of applications," said Herrington.

The California Department of Public Health tells ABC7 News local health officers make recommendations regarding schools shutting down.

RELATED: Oakland Unified students returning to in-person learning

Counties have the option to be more, but not less, restrictive than CDPH advises.

"If it's being transmitted from the school site then they would look at it, I'm sure the health department would look at it very cautiously but when it's brought in from the community and wide spread in the community schools will still operate," said Herrington.

School Districts including Byron, Fremont, Lafayette, South San Francisco and Hayward tell us they will follow state guidance as well as that by local county health departments.

Hayward Unified School District says it has plans to implement temporary distance learning programs should they be needed.

CDC COVID-19 Transmission Categories by California County

Map not displaying correctly? Click here to open in a new window.