Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Mary Ann Dewan said Friday that school staff and faculty still do not have the required amount of personal protective equipment necessary to reopen campuses to students.
Dewan said the district would need both state and local assistance, not only in acquiring protective equipment but also in maintaining uncovered costs for certain educational programs and after-school childcare as schools begin to reopen later this year.
Dewan said reopening schools would depend on several local factors such as testing capacity and the availability of sanitizing and disinfecting products. The county's public schools must also welcome students back to class with equity in mind, she said.
"It's likely that we can assume that those who were struggling when school was in session have continued to struggle with distance learning," Dewan said. "And if that's the case, our decisions to continue to operationalize equity moving forward will be important to both our budget and to our plans for safe operations."
Gov. Gavin Newsom and state and local public health officials have signaled that public schools are on track to reopen in the late summer, albeit with various modifications such as staggered schedules and fewer students per classroom.
In addition, state education funding is likely to be stagnant due to lost tax revenue during the pandemic. How that will affect public schools later this year that are already struggling to accommodate students remains to be seen.