Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on July 17 that restrictions are being placed on the reopening of schools in the state because of the continuing rise in coronavirus cases.
"Schools located in counties that are on CA's Monitoring List must NOT physically open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days," Newsom said on social media.
The Fontana Unified School District, Colton Joint Unified School District, and Etiwanda School District had all recently announced plans to offer hybrid learning programs (part in-school, part virtual) as well as distance learning programs for their students during the upcoming 2020-2021 year, which is scheduled to begin in August.
But at this point, all schools in San Bernardino County will be forced to start the year with distance learning models only.
Los Angeles County officials immediately announced that they would adhere to Newsom's directive that the county's schools cannot resume in-person learning.
In a news release, L.A. County said that the state order allows superintendents to submit school district waiver requests to re-open elementary schools for approval by the local health officer only after review of local epidemiological data and intervention strategies, and in consultation with the California Department of Public Health.
Counties are on the watch list because they have not achieved more than 150 tests per day per 100,000 people, or have more than 100 cases per 1,000 residents, or have case positivity rates greater than 8 percent, or have a 10 percent or more increase in hospitalizations over the past three days, or less than 20 percent of ICU beds are open, or less than 25 percent of ventilators are available.
San Bernardino County had been placed on the state's watch list in part because it had a positivity rate of 11.4 percent as of July 15.
Newsom said that when school sites are opened, all staff members and students in third grade and above must wear face coverings.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a news release that on July 20, the California Department of Education will host a meeting for the state's 1,000 school districts to "unpack" the guidance issued by Newsom.
“I also want to thank the Governor for the work he has led to ensure that our educators have necessary personal protective equipment -- already on its way to our 10,000 schools -- in the form of millions of units of face coverings, face shields, hand sanitizer, and thermometers," Thurmond said.