SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The possibility of reopening schools in Sacramento County could be just days away, and schools are already preparing.
“We’re really excited about getting to go back to school,” said Beka Clement, a parent of students at Natomas Unified.
Clement said she’s ready to send her kids back to class and puts her trust in schools to be on top of her students’ safety.
“The pros outweigh the risk for me,” she said.
Several districts want to make sure there’s as little risk as possible. Before beginning, Sacramento City Unified Schools are working to install proper air filters and plan to bring in an architect to make sure their buildings are COVID safe. These are standards the Sacramento County Office of Education hopes for.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important the safety of our staff and students is,” Dave Gordon, Superintendent of the Sacramento Office of Education said, hoping to avoid the worst-case scenario.
“The fear is – you don’t want to open the school and shut it down in a couple of weeks,” Gordon said.
So how do they plan to avoid that? At districts like Twin Rivers, for example, they’re offering free monthly COVID-19 tests to staff.
Though, all districts are following county and state protocols. They’ll alert any students or staff if they’ve been exposed to the virus and send them home to quarantine. But Sacramento County Public Health takes things a step further.
“We will be ready,” said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, the public health officer for Sacramento County.
The county health department has delegated teams to handle schools specifically and will be ready to responding once a positive test pops up, and helping all who may have come in close contact. Close contact is measured as anyone who was around an infected person less than six feet away for more than fifteen minutes.
“We’ll be able to provide them with expedited testing,” Dr. Kasirye said.
Dr. Kasirye said results should be ready in less than two days, while also offering free testing to every districts’ staff members every two months.
But parents like Clement hope that as planning continues, everyone is taken into consideration – including teachers.
“Those who want to come back should,” she said. “But then those who want to stay home can maybe teach distance learning – I hope there’s a flexible system.”
So long as Sacramento County stays in the red tier, schools can reopen in person without public health’s permission as soon as October 13th. No district has announced a potential in-person start date yet.