Yesterday in a press conference, Governor Gavin Newsom, with the backing of Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond, shared the expectation that all school districts and charters in California continue to provide distance learning opportunities for students and their families for the remainder of the school year.
Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) and local school districts, have consulted with Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Frankovich, who advises all school districts in Humboldt County follow the Governor’s recommendation and plan for continued closure of facilities through the end of the school year.
According to Dr. Frankovich, “The situation is changing quickly and there is increasing evidence, as we look at impacted areas across the country, that aggressive social distancing can significantly help to slow transmission of this infection. Maintaining distance learning and keeping school facilities closed through the end of the school year will allow schools and families to plan appropriately. Schools and Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and should circumstances allow for an earlier return to school, we will make that decision together.”
Humboldt County schools began school facility closures on March 16 and have been developing and delivering high quality distance learning instruction for students, providing students with meals, and working on systems for childcare. Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Chris Hartley, supports the campuses being physically closed through the end of the academic year and applauds district efforts in meeting student needs, including the massive response in providing school meals.
“Schools are critical in assisting Public Health in emphasizing the importance of shelter in place and social distancing. We are thankful for their proactive efforts,” states Dr. Frankovich.
“Our main priority is the health and safety of our students, families, and staff,” states Hartley. “Social distancing remains critical as cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, and while we recognize the difficulty and challenges this poses to many, maintaining closure of school facilities is prudent and allows our educators and HCOE to continue developing and improving distance learning education for students.”
All HCOE school programs will remain physically closed. Local districts will be working with their respective Boards to weigh local needs and state and local recommendations in determining their district plans for distance learning and facility closures, and announce to their communities accordingly. Additionally, in-person graduation events, promotions, and activities are yet to be fully determined and will be evaluated and communicated by individual districts as time draws.
HCOE will continue to partner with districts to improve upon the distance learning programs, services, and supports for districts and families in our community. Hartley reassures, “School is not over. Humboldt County schools are the heartbeat of our communities. They will continue to provide essential services for students and families by embracing innovation and collaboration.”
News, information, and resources for families, including meal distribution schedules, are available and regularly updated at hcoe.org/covid-19.