Contra Costa Joins Bay Area Counties in Extending Distance Learning Through End of School Year

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Pleasant Hill, CA– The public health officers and county superintendents in six Bay Area counties have announced they will extend the suspension of in-class instruction through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco County Superintendents in collaboration with the Public Health Officers in their respective counties, announced the decision to extend campus closures to students through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Schools will continue to transition from in-person classroom instruction to at-home and distance learning formats. School leaders will continue to utilize campus facilities to distribute school meals and provide childcare or supervision as determined by local needs.

After recently announcing campuses would remain closed for in-person learning until May 1, Bay Area counties took action to review their timelines following statements by Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond suggesting that California’s students would not return to campus for in-person learning for the remainder of this school year.

This announcement comes as local public health officers continue to monitor and ensure the local orders to shelter in place with limited availability of COVID-19 testing and adapt to new information about the ways in which COVID-19 spreads in a community. Local officials are now recommending that residents wear face coverings when out in public and are requiring essential businesses to post social distancing protocols.

“We know that social distancing is the most powerful weapon in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County. “As hard as it is to extend school closures, we know that it is critical to protecting the health and safety of all residents of Contra Costa County and the Bay Area in general. We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with our school leaders as we adapt to this changing situation.”

Building on the regional coordination the six Bay Area jurisdictions took in issuing the order for all residents to shelter in place, Bay Area counties have continued to work together to align strategies and practices in support of Bay Area schools during this unprecedented time.

“While this means that physical campuses would not re-open to students this school year, it does not suggest that school is over for the year, as teachers, classified staff and administrators in our programs and throughout Contra Costa County continue to provide meals and learning devices to students who need them, and are working hard to transition to high-quality distance learning, and support the needs of all students,” said Lynn Mackey, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “While we all pivot into a new way of delivering quality instruction, we know that learning will continue, and that every educator and caring staff member in our county will meet this challenge and continue to work hard on behalf of the students and families we serve.”

During this most critical phase of the shelter in place order and as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, residents, including all Contra Costa County students, are urged to keep practicing the guidance provided by public health officers including:

  • Staying home and limiting essential activities where possible
  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Contacting your healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
  • Wearing face coverings (but not medical-grade masks)
  • Adhering closely to social distancing guidelines

More information about Contra Costa County schools’ response to COVID-19 can be found on the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s website.