Tulare County Public Health announced on Monday its assisting schools with guidance documents, resources and information as they plan and develop protocols for returning to the classroom once its safe to do so.
The department also stated it will follow the recommendation from the California Department of Public Health, calling for counties to have a COVID-19 case rate of less than 200 cases per 100,000 residents over the most recent 14-day period. As of last week, Tulare County had a case rate of 593.5 per 100,000.
Only elementary schools are eligible to submit applications and can only serve grades TK-6 when allowed to re-open. “Ensuring the health and safety of children, teachers, staff, and all of their families is the top priority,” the department stated.
The department stated schools should develop a plan that meets the requirements set for by CDPH and Tulare County. The department stated prior to applying for a waiver, school superintendents must consult with labor, parent, and community organizations to develop and publish a reopening plan.
Tulare County Public Health officials have developed guidance documents and instructions for submitting a reopening plan, which are available online at: https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/reopening-tulare-county/.
Tulare County Public Health will continue to work countywide to implement the infection control strategies known to effectively reduce community transmission and case rates so schools can reopen for in-person instruction as soon as it’s safe to do so, the department stated. While all schools, public and private, across the county are closed for in-person instruction of students, teachers, staff, and administrators are allowed to return to school buildings provided adults wear face coverings and adhere to existing protocols that require social distancing.
“To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Tulare County and get our students back to the classroom, officials strongly urge everyone to practice both social and physical distancing of six feet or more between persons,” the department stated. “Residents must always wear a face mask or covering while in environments where physical distancing is not possible and while in public settings. More importantly, residents should not participate in social gatherings of any kind, as a large number of the COVID-19 cases in Tulare County stem from exposure through gatherings that occurred beyond a single household.”