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California Set to Allow Re-Opening of Schools, Camps, Bars, and Gyms

It is up to the local jurisdiction to make decisions regarding reopening specifics

Published on Friday, June 5, 2020 | 3:14 pm
 
Although familiar businesses will soon be permitted to reopen, they won’t look like “the good ole days” of even just a few months ago (as pictured above). New rules will require face coverings, social distancing and more.

Schools, day camps, bars, gyms, campgrounds, film production – even professional sports – can begin to reopen in California as early as next week.

State public health officials Friday announced guidelines for the reopenings on a county-by-county basis.

The final decision about when and how such operations will restart is up to local officials.

“It is up to the local jurisdiction to make decisions regarding reopening specific sectors based upon the epidemiology and readiness of the county,” according to a statement issued by the California Department of Public Health.

The state on Friday released guidance for counties to follow in order to reopen a number of businesses that have been closed since mid-March because of coronavirus concerns.

Pasadena Public Information Director Lisa Derderian said Friday afternoon, “Our local data is vital in our next phase and a lot of our numbers may be based upon the outcome of the current large gatherings we’re seeing. We will put out Guidance and a Health Order based on how we are impacted locally although the State’s are not effective until June 12, so we are working on draft guidelines now.

For the reopening of schools, state guidelines call for plans that consider:

  • Student, Family and Staff Population: Who are the student, family and staff populations that will be impacted by or can serve as partners in implementing any of the following measures?
  • Ability to Implement or Adhere to Measures: Do staff, students and families have the tools, information, resources and ability to successfully adhere to or implement the new measures?
  • Negative or Unintended Consequences: Are there any negative or unintended consequences to staff, students or families of implementing the measures and how can those consequences be mitigated?

The reopening is “Phase 3” of Governor Gavin Newsom’s methodical four-step process for reopening, said Ghaly.

Nail salons will not be included in the list, he added.

As part of the reopening guidelines, the state will supply every school and childcare center with no-touch thermometers, hand sanitizer, face shields for every teacher, cloth face coverings for staff and students and tight-fitting N-95 masks for health care professionals in schools, in addition to enforcing requirements for physical distancing.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Department of General Services said they will distribute personal protective equipment and other supplies to traditional and charter public schools, private schools and childcare facilities.

The agencies plan to send out:

  • more than 47,000 no-touch thermometers for every school and childcare facility;
  • roughly 2.4 million face shields for every teacher and childcare provider;
  • more than 14 million cloth face coverings for staff and students;
  • more than 16 million disposable masks;
  • 123,000 N95 masks for school-based health professionals, including those interacting with symptomatic students; and
  • 143,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.

The Department of General Services will also work with schools and childcare providers to procure additional PPE and other supplies.

“I think the supplies that the state will provide are great,” said PUSD Board Member Scott Phelps, reached Friday. “That’s good news.”

Phelps cautioned, however, that “Working conditions are generally subject to collective bargaining, so many aspects of re-opening will be contingent on negotiations with our employee unions.”

Phelps added that PUSD is also currently gathering parental preferences for what schooling parents want in August—on-premises, online or a hybrid.

“Parent preferences and employee union requirements will be used by leadership staff to determine recommendations for re-opening practices and procedures,” he said.

Rules on reopening of schools and day camps will apply statewide, but only counties meeting certain thresholds on the number of cases, testing and preparedness will be allowed to start reopening in other sectors.

Meanwhile, California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, hair salons, churches, and retail stores with modifications.

Guidelines on how to reopen schools have been highly anticipated. The state cannot order schools to close, but it can offer guidelines for districts to follow around reopening. They have been closed since mid-March, when Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order, and developed distance-learning plans on the fly.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said last week that he expects a “hybrid model” of instruction at schools, balancing traditional classes and distance learning to accommodate the need for physical distancing.

Almost all of the state’s 58 counties have met those guidelines. The new requirements for reopening will also include rules on hotels, casinos, museums, and aquariums, as well as music, film and television production.

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