More and more questions are being asked now that Kindergarten through 12th grade schools can reopen for in person instruction in San Luis Obispo County.
Students are not required to return to in-person education, but for those schools and students who do return, there are a lot of new changes on the horizon.
“It is probably the biggest question that we're getting these days,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County public health officer.
State guidance requires that school staff be tested periodically for COVID-19.
Over 2 months, 25% could be tested every 2 weeks, or 50% every month to rotate which staff are tested.
State guidance also recommends symptom checks prior to entering campus like questions and a temperature check.
Parent Josie Slawson of Paso Robles says her kids are looking forward to going back to school.
“Of course, it's a difficult decision to make but I think they'll benefit from being with their friends,” Slawson said.
If a student, teacher, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they’ll be told to isolate at home.
A positive case is no longer considered contagious if 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and the person has been fever free for 24 hours.
Parents will only be notified of a positive case if their child shared a classroom or if they were in close contact to a positive case.
“We’re constantly keeping our eyes on best practices across the state, the nation, and the globe,” Dr. Borenstein said.
In the case of an outbreak, an individual school closure may happen if at least 5% of the total number of people at the school test positive within a 14-day period.
If a school closes, it may reopen 14 days after cleaning and disinfection, among other requirements.
“We’re going to work with our schools to make sure that we do it in the safest ways possible with all the protective measures in place,” Dr. Borenstein said.
When it comes to masks, 3rd graders through high schoolers are required to wear one. For the younger grades, it’s strongly encouraged.
Dr. Borenstein says they’ve received reopening plans from two charter schools beyond the elementary school waivers. On the private side, six schools are already open under the waiver.