OXNARD, Calif. -- Schools in California can reopen once COVID-19 case rate falls below a certain number in their respective county. The Ventura County Office of Education says that could happen any day.
Elementary schools could be back in session in Ventura County soon, as case rates keep trending down. Current state guidelines allow elementary schools to reopen for in-person learning once the case rate falls below 25 per 100,000 people.
“I believe we are at the 25 right now,” said Dr. Cesar Morales, Deputy Superintendent for the Ventura County Office of Education. “But nonetheless we have to be at that rate for at least five days for schools to have the flexibility to be able to open if they meet all of those local parameters and conditions.”
Nearly half of the county's school districts already reopened elementary schools when the county was in the less restrictive Red Tier of the state's reopening plan. The remaining schools, including Oxnard Unified School District, are now waiting for case rates to decline.
“The city of Oxnard has four zip codes, and three of our zip codes have very high positivity rate number of cases,” said Dr. Karling Aguilera-Fort, Superintendent at Oxnard Unified School District. “I do not have a definite date yet, however we are planning to have those dates within the next week or two.”
Aguilera-Fort said they have a full safety plan in place now.
“Every classroom and every school now has the proper ventilation requirements, from air purifiers to filters,” said Aguilera-Fort.
Furniture was rearranged to maintain physical distancing. The district also said they have a full supply of PPE. Meantime the Ventura County Office of Education continues to advocate for more vaccines.
“There is a lot of folks that would like to be vaccinated before they come back on a consistent basis face-to-face because they want to avoid the opening and closing of schools should there be another surge,” said Morales. “We know that the education sector is soon to be announced, however I am continuing to advocate for the education community to begin concurrently to that 65 and older age group.”
Under current guidelines, middle and high schools that have not previously reopened will have to wait until Ventura County returns to the Red Tier. It’s anticipated that additional guidance will be coming from the State.