The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento plans to submit waiver applications to public health officials this week to reopen 38 elementary schools across seven counties, including 17 in Sacramento.
The diocese’s plan comes after the state released updated guidelines Monday, which further outline a waiver program public health officials originally announced in July. The program would allow kindergarten through sixth-grade elementary schools to reopen if strict requirements are met and the local public health officer gives the green light.
On Tuesday, the staff at St. Francis Elementary were busy cleaning and organizing. The school in midtown Sacramento is set to start on Aug. 17 with distance learning and in-person outdoor faith events. But if the school’s waiver is approved, Superintendent Lincoln Snyder said in-person instruction could resume in September.
“For our families that are looking to return to work or are our front-line responders, or perhaps families that have circumstances where it’s clear that a classroom is the safest place for their child or the best place for their child, we’re working hard to serve them,” Snyder said.
Snyder said the two main safety protocols that will be in place if schools reopen are cohorts and deliberate attention to hygiene. Additional measures at St. Francis Elementary include masks, social distancing by using the library and computer lab as a classroom to keep students 6 feet apart and upgrades to the bathrooms, like touchless soap dispensers and sinks.
“A lot of the conversation has been about risks at schools and we understand that and we’re trying to mitigate it,” Snyder said. “We also understand that there’s a real need for kids to be in school. When kids are in distance learning, that creates challenges for families.”
However, California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd said the state’s school waiver program is unfair to public schools.
“It shows that those that have the resources will utilize them in order to get their children back into the school system. And, the public doesn’t have the funding right now in order to do so,” Boyd said. “So, we’re actually relying on the federal government to give us funding in order to purchase the necessary things we need in order to ensure the safety of our students and our staff.”
Boyd said he has concerns about equity with the state’s waiver program.
“Our Black and Brown lower socio-economic students are not going to have that same opportunity,” he said.
Snyder weighed in on equity by saying Catholic schools are community schools.
“We do operate schools where we are very proud to serve families of lesser means,” Snyder said. “We have scholarships and financial aid available at all of our schools and again our budget per student is about half of what public schools receive from the state to educate their students… No, I don’t think we’re at an unfair advantage….”
The above comes from an Aug. 4 story on KCRA-3.
Everyone wants to get back regular life, including schooling for the kids. I have often wondered why we require vaccines for viruses etc. that we know about, but are willing to send the kids into close contact without a vaccine for a virus we know little about. But if we do send the kids back, it needs to be done with care. In a drive through town yesterday I observed long lines outside grocery stores and banks and coffee shops because only a few people are allowed into the facilities at one time. People all stood six feet apart and wore masks. How many kids will be in a classroom at one time./What happens if the teachers test positive, if one of the kids test positive, or the janitor or whomever?
We know much more about the virus today than we did back in February. Young children (e.g. K-3) tend to be fairly resilient to the coronavirus, and they also don’t seem to be as contagious as adults. In addition, it’s very important for their psychological development that this age group socialize and attend school.
This explains why the parents of young children are so emphatic about their children meeting in class. The schools that seek a waiver need to have virus protocols in place. My son recently completed summer school without a single incidence of anyone contracting the coronavirus.
why are black and brown capitalized?
If kids don’t need to be vaccinated for covid-19, then why should they be required to be vaccinated for Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella or Hepatitis? Let’s just throw all caution to the wind. Some people are unaware, but the caseload is going up quickly, the death rate is surging, and the cases involving young people is rising steadily. But hey, if you want to expose your kids and grandchildren to the possibility, no matter how small, to the chance of catching the virus and death, have at it. Mine would stay home for as long as it takes to reduce the threat. New York will be a good test. Their cases are below the suggested 5% growth rate, so they should be able to open. California is a red hot boiling pot of the virus. We could wait a few weeks.
I think you need to look at the data. California is not “red hot boiling.” Our per capita infection rate is half of Florida’s. Also, our knowledge of how to treat the virus has vastly improved. For those older people who might need it, our hospitals are open and ready for service. They have vacant beds and are not overloaded.
Lastly, very few children have died from the virus and those that did had chronic conditions. Yes, children with chronic conditions should attend class remotely. All other need to attend class in person although schools do need to take precautionary measures.
The following is an excellent link to John Hopkins University that shows the infection rate in each state. Compare California with Florida. By the way, Florida’s hospitals are near capacity but not overloaded.
I forgot to include the link in my previous post. The link is https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases-50-states