Kern Schools Reopening FAQs

On July 17, 2020, Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated guidance related to the re-opening of public and private schools for the 2020-21 school year. That guidance is HERE. On Aug. 3, 2020, CDPH released an FAQ document that further outlines its guidance. That FAQ is HERE.

The new requirement only allows schools to re-open for in-person instruction when the county the school is in has been off of the statewide Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days. The guidance also addresses the criteria and process for re-closing schools once they have opened for in-person instruction.

Furthermore, the guidance addresses the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, increased hygiene practices and cleaning, as well as rules for operating transportation and sports programming.

Below are some FAQs regarding the new guidance:

Q. What determines if schools may conduct in-person instruction or distance learning?

Using health data, schools will be allowed to physically open when the county they are in has been off the California Monitoring List for 14 days and only if they follow strict health and safety requirements like masks and physical distancing. Find the County Monitoring List here. Once this threshold is met, it will be up to each individual school district to determine the mode of instruction it will use. For example, full-time in-person instruction, a blended model with some in-person instruction and some distance learning, or 100 percent distance learning.

Q. Will schools in Kern County be allowed to open for in-person instruction if the school district they are in chooses that mode of instruction? 

A. Kern County was placed on the COVID-19 Monitoring List on July 21, 2020 due to the county failing to meet certain criteria. Because the county will have to be off this list for 14 consecutive days before schools may re-open for in-person instruction and because the start of the school year is quickly approaching, it is likely that all Kern County schools will be required to begin the 2020-21 in a 100 percent distance learning model.

Q. How will I know what my child’s school is planning?

School district officials will reach out directly to parents through their normal communications channels.

Q. What are the health and safety requirements when schools do open for in-person instruction? 

This will vary by school district, but at a minimum, schools must put the following protocols in place.

• Everyone entering the school must do daily health checks.
• If someone experiences symptoms while at school, they will be sent home.
• Masks are required for all staff. Masks are required for students in grades 3-12, and encouraged for grades TK-2.
• Staff members must maintain 6ft distance from each other and students. Students should maintain 6ft distance as practicable.

Q. When schools physically re-open, what happens if there is a confirmed COVID case identified on campus?

Full or partial closures are recommended based on the number of cases, the percentage of the teacher/students/staff that are positive for COVID-19, and following consultation with Kern County Public Health.

A classroom must be closed, when: There is one positive case in a classroom.

A school must be closed, when: At least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are cases within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school.

An entire school district must be closed, when: 25% or more of schools in a district have closed due to COVID-19 within 14 days, and in consultation with the local public health department.

Q. What should I expect if my student is engaged in distance learning?