Franklin McKinley School District, located in one of San Jose's COVID-19 hotspots, will continue distance learning until June 15, 2021.
The school board voted unanimously in favor of the move during its Tuesday night meeting -- stating that the safety of students, staff and families is the priority.
"For me personally as a teacher, I am always going to prioritize safety and health of students and staff," school board Vice President Maimona Berta said. "Our district continues to be one of the highest-impacted districts by COVID-19 based on our ZIP codes both in cases and fatalities."
The school district has 13 elementary schools, three middle schools and seven charter schools that span across six ZIP codes in East San Jose.
Three of those six ZIP codes are among the top five highest COVID-19 case rates in San Jose, according to Santa Clara County data.
"This wasn't a decision that was taken lightly. We are heading into the winter months and know that this disease does well in the cold," Berta said.
The school board will allow students with disabilities, English as a second language students and new immigrant students to be the first to return to campus once COVID-19 conditions improve.
"We know that the anxieties are high for all people - students, parents and teachers," Berta said. "We know these are hard transitions and we are all trying to make it as smooth as possible."
Berta also emphasized that there are still resources available for families in distance learning, like childcare for working parents and other educational and wellness support.
Families may access those services by contacting the district's Student Wellness and Support Services Office at (408) 283-6092 and visit the district's website for more COVID-19 support.