California schools can't reopen if they're on the COVID-19 watch list

Counties with a high rate of positive coronavirus testing must keep schools closed in the fall.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read

Students must learn from home if their county has a high rate of positive COVID-19 testing.

James Martin/CNET

California schools in counties that are on the COVID-19 watch list must remain closed, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday. Counties will be permitted to open their schools for in-person learning only if they've been off the list for 14 consecutive days. Counties are put on the monitoring list according to their rate of positivity in coronavirus testing.

Counties that are currently on the COVID-19 monitoring list in California are: Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kings, Los Angeles, Marin, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Ventura, Yolo and Yuba.

For schools that do reopen in other counties, Newsom said classroom "cohorts" must be sent home if there is a confirmed case. An entire school must go home when multiple classroom cohorts have cases or more than 5% of the school is positive. A district must send home all schools if 25% of them are closed within a 14-day period.

Schools should also consult with a public health officer.

Read more: Should I take a gap year or service year during coronavirus? Here are 5 good options

Newsom's announcement follows two of the state's biggest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, saying, on Monday, that they won't reopen in the fall.

"Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread in the Los Angeles area, and the virus is going to impact how we start the new school year," said Austin Beutner, superintendent of LA schools. "The health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise."

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