January 13, 2021 — The governor is seeking early action from the legislature that would provide grants to incentivize local school districts to start reopening for in-person instruction as early as February 15, starting with kids in pre-K through second grade. Students from third to sixth grade would start a month later. Schools would need an agreement with the unions and a strategy for complying with safety criteria from the state, which is set to come out this week. Parents could still keep their children at home if they don’t feel safe about sending them to class.
Schools in purple-tier counties like Mendocino would be able to reopen, as long as the average daily rate of infections does not exceed 28 per 100,000 residents. But Michelle Hutchins, the superintendent of the Mendocino County Office of Education, says schools won’t be penalized if they can’t reopen because the covid positivity rate in their community is too high.
In a separate state program, vaccines are making their way into the education system. Yesterday, 250 teachers and staff with daily regular contact with the public were vaccinated in Ukiah.
We’ll hear from Hutchins and Terry d’Selkie, the president of the Ukiah Teachers Association, about vaccines for teachers and more details about the reopening plan.