On the heels of an announcement from the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) on March 25 recommending that Sonoma County school districts plan to continue distance learning through at least May 1, the Windsor Unified School District announced that, in fact, they will suspend classes until that date.
The original announcement from SCOE stated that this guidance was based on consultation with the Sonoma County Health Officer and was also made in consultation with the county superintendents in Napa, Marin and Solano counties, which will also be advising schools to plan for in-person classes to be canceled through May 1, according to the statement.
Previously, Sonoma County school districts had announced that they would suspend in-person classes at least through the end of the Sonoma County health officer's shelter in place order, which was set for April 7. Then Governor Gavin Newsom called for individuals to stay at home state-wide and prohibited mass gatherings of more than 10 people indefinitely.
“Following this order, and in consultation with Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, schools are preparing for the possibility of conducting distance learning through May 1,” said SCOE’s announcement.” SCOE and school district leaders will reconvene mid-April to reassess and determine a date to resume in-person classes. Should the governor's order end before April 30, school districts will be flexible and consider resuming classes earlier.”
Later that same day, WUSD sent around a letter to families, and posted it on their social media, implying that all local districts were planning on following that suggestion. “Please be advised that in coordination between North Bay County departments of education, all schools will be suspending classes and continuing distance learning through May 1, 2020 . . . (WUSD) has suspended classes at all schools through May 1, 2020, until further notice. Updated distance learning plans are being developed for implementation after April 7. Information is coming soon on the next steps of these plans,” said the letter.
"The goal is to get students back into the classroom as soon as it is considered safe to do so," said Sonoma County Superintendent Dr. Steve Herrington in a statement. "While difficult for working parents, school closures are necessary at this time to protect the health of students, staff and family members with compromised immune systems."
During this time, only school and district personnel who perform essential functions such as feeding children, providing childcare or ensuring business continuity are coming to physical work locations. All school district personnel are on-call to perform school support functions as identified in the Governor's order by their respective school district.
According to the statement from SCOE, over the past two weeks, SCOE and school districts across the county have rapidly adapted to the emergency to provide remote learning, "grab-and-go" meal distribution, pop-up childcare for emergency/medical providers during the school day and telecommuting.
Resources for schools and families related to COVID-19, including a map of school lunch locations, resources for parents at home with their children, and more, can be found at scoe.org/covid.
For more information about the county response to COVID-19, visit socoemergency.org.