In response to a statewide spike in new coronavirus infections, Ventura County and 28 other counties were suddenly moved back to the most restrictive purple tier of California’s color-coded tracking system on Monday, November 16. Facing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, Governor Gavin Newsom said he was “pulling an emergency brake.”
Now that Ventura County is back in the purple tier, schools and districts that had already reopened are permitted to continue with in-person instruction according to state and local regulations. However, individual schools that have not yet reopened will need to wait until the County moves back to the less restrictive red tier and stays there for 14 days.
Some schools were already in the midst of phased reopenings, starting with lower grades first. Individual schools that opened some of their grades while Ventura County was in the red tier will be allowed to open additional grades even while the County is in the purple tier. However, schools that did not resume in-person instruction while the County was in the red tier cannot reopen while the County is in the purple tier. These schools will continue to serve their students with distance learning.
There are some limited options for schools that haven’t already reopened and wish to do so while the County is in the purple tier. For example, schools may request waivers from Ventura County Public Health to allow them to reopen grades TK through six. In addition, all schools are permitted to hold in-person classes for small groups of students who need extra assistance, including students with disabilities and English language learners. All schools that are providing in-person instruction of any kind will carefully follow COVID-19 safety protocols to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
A list of reopening dates that had previously been announced by Ventura County school districts and charter schools is available at https://www.vcoe.org/coronavirus. Schools that had been planning to reopen after November 16 may not be able to do so now that the County has fallen back to the purple tier.
It will be up to each individual school district to decide how to proceed based on the changing circumstances. School administrators will continue to work closely with their school boards, employees and parents to develop plans that best meet the needs of their communities while keeping the safety of students and staff as a top priority.
This news release may be viewed online at www.vcoe.org/coronavirus.
About the Ventura County Office of Education
The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.