From the County of Mendocino
Effective Friday, Jan. 29, Mendocino County Public Health issued a revised Health Order regarding COVID-19 protocol for schools. This revised Health Order allows Mendocino County schools to begin the re-opening process for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The revised health order may be viewed by visiting https://www.mendocinocounty.org/home/showpublisheddocument?id=40285.
“We are now able to start the process of re-opening our schools, due to our efforts as a community to avoid gatherings, wear masks, and maintain social distance,” explained Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren. Schools are able to reopen because Mendocino County is currently in the state’s COVID-19 Purple Tier.
“In addition to those efforts, we here at Public Health are thrilled that our efforts to vaccinate as many teachers as possible have been successful, with much assistance from the Mendocino County Office of Education, Mendocino County school districts, schools, teachers, staff, parents, community partners, rural clinics and Adventist Health.”
“This pandemic has tested all of us,” said Mendocino County Office of Education Superintendent Michelle Hutchins. “However, as often happens in Mendocino County, we find that by working together we can achieve a lot. The Mendocino County Office of Education is grateful for the partnership with Public Health, and we are continually impressed by the tireless efforts of school district superintendents and school leaders countywide.”
Ukiah Unified School District Superintendent Deb Kubin coordinated events to increase vaccination rates across all districts.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our incredible students back to campuses when local conditions allow it,” said Kubin. “We have taken all of the necessary steps to support a safe transition. We appreciate everything Mendocino County Public Health has done to support and guide us during this pandemic.”
The process for re-opening schools is complex and will take time, and the public is asked to remain patient as schools complete the process to open in-person instruction for kindergarten through sixth grade. Schools and school districts will reach out to provide updates as soon as they can. Other grades may not re-open in-person instruction at this time.
Schools may re-open in-person instruction for students in kindergarten through sixth grade after completion of the following steps:
- Completion of a COVID-19 Safety Plan, which consists of a COVID-19 Prevention Program document and a School Guidance
- Checklist. Both documents may be viewed at https://schools.covid19.ca.gov
- Submission of the school’s COVID-19 Safety Plan to Mendocino County Office of Education.
- Submission of the school’s COVID-19 Safety Plan to the Mendocino County Public Health Department.
- Submission of the school’s COVID-19 Safety Plan to the California Department of Public Health.
- If no identified deficiencies are noted by the state or by Mendocino County Public Health within seven business days of submission, a school may open on the eighth business day for in-person instruction. Note again that this only applies to children in kindergarten through sixth grades.
- A school’s COVID-19 Safety Plan must be posted on the homepage of the school’s website prior to re-opening.
Schools may re-open to all grades once Mendocino County maintains Red Tier qualifications for longer than five consecutive days, as stated in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
In order to address the many questions that will arise during this process, Mendocino County Public Health is partnering with schools to create a fact sheet that will be available by the end of this week. “We respectfully ask for the community’s patience, as we believe the majority of questions you have will be addressed in the fact sheet,” Dr. Coren concludes. The fact sheet will be posted on the county’s website and through social media.
To stay abreast of the county’s COVID-19 response, follow Mendocino County on Facebook, and Twitter or visit the county’s COVID-19 website at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus.