Guidelines being drafted for reopening California schools in the age of the coronavirus pandemic are reportedly being greeted with skepticism and outrage.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to release a final version of the guidelines Friday, but The San Francisco Chronicle has already obtained a summary. The guidelines reportedly include 6 feet of separation at all times, isolating groups of students all day, even at recess, teachers wearing masks, new hand-washing stations, and meals served and eaten in classrooms.
The superintendent of the Alum Rock Union School District in San Jose said the draft guidelines are similar to ones recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will be difficult and expensive to implement.
Superintendent Hilaria Bauer, who leads a district of almost 10,000 children that was facing $8 million in budget cuts before the pandemic, said measures such as distancing and isolating will be big challenges.
“It’s counter intuitive to ask more while giving us less,” she said.
Kimberly Miller, the Alum Rock Union School District nurse, is looking at the nature of the school guidelines for next year skeptically.
“Those will be difficult,” she said. “Being in the front line and working in a school myself and also being a parent, I wondered how are we going to be able to follow those guidelines and educate children the way that we used to."
Miller said district nurses around the county are now meeting online constantly.
“We’re saying, 'OK, how can we implement these things in a realistic manner in our districts? How can we apply them to the budgets that we have, to the student populations that we have? Are they realistic and can we do it?’” she said.
The county's district nurses have formed committees to address each guideline and will submit recommendations to the public health department and the county office of education.