Bay Area Schools in Limbo After Newsom's Reopening Announcement

NBC Universal, Inc.

The state’s decision to pull back reopenings shuffles things around for school districts across the state. 

Parents at San Jose Unified School District were given until Monday to decide whether they want their children to return to in-classroom learning, but then the governor dropped the bomb and now, nothing is certain. 

Like many Bay Area students, the Wilcott sisters have just about had it with distance learning.

“It’s exhausting. They’re tired,” said parent Heifi Wolcott. “Tired of being online. It’s a lot of screen time. So when your kids don’t want to watch TV, that tells you that something is kind of off.”

But when given the choice by the district to return to the classroom in January, the sisters chose to stay home. Not worth the risk, they said.

“What we don’t want to do is open, close, open, close,” said SJUSD Board President Brian Wheatley.

The governor might have just made the decision easier for parents in his district. A purple tier means no public or private schools can reopen for in-person learning unless they receive an emergency waiver for students in grades K-6.

“It’ll take a Herculean effort, given the cold and the flu season to get it back to orange. But I choose to be hopeful. It’s how I sleep at night,” Wheatley said.

If the county only moves back into the red tier, schools could reopen, but with many more restrictions. 

For now, South Bay schools that have not already opened their classrooms, don’t have a choice.

San Jose's Franklin McKinley School District says it read the tea leaves, and decided to stick with distance learning altogether for the remainder of the academic year.

“We have one of the highest positive rates within the county with the ZIP codes we serve,” said Superintendent Juan Cruz. “So those were some of the contributing factors of the decision the board took.” 

Decisions dictated by a virus that’s acting a lot like a boomerang.

Contact Us