Today is the first day of the new school year for thousands of K-12 students around the Bay. All classes are online-only. But, there is a push to get kids back into real classrooms.
The ongoing debate about when to start in-person school recently took a new turn when three local counties announced they might grant waivers that could bring elementary school kids back into schools next month.
Every Bay Area county is on the state’s official COVID-19 Watch List which prohibits in-person instruction. However, some schools in Santa Clara, Sonoma and Marin counties want to take advantage of a new waiver program from the state’s public health department.
Under this waiver, schools can begin classroom instruction if they receive enough support from parents and teacher groups. Schools must also prepare and publish a detailed school reopening plan.
This shift comes as education and health officials try to balance public health with the benefits of in-person learning. The science appears to support this in the case of younger children. Recent studies suggest that kids under 10 are less likely to transmit COVID-19 than older kids and adults.
Other counties may soon follow, with San Mateo and Solano Counties most interested in reopening elementary schools.