Santa Rosa Schools Could Stay Virtual Through The End Of The Year

Santa Rosa school officials consider extending distance learning through 2020
Photo credit Ethan Miller/Getty Images
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

A proposal going in front of Santa Rosa City Schools district officials Wednesday night would keep students learning virtually through the end of 2020.

“The school board and the district office, administrators, have all put safety first,” said William Lyon, president of the Santa Rosa Teachers Association, who says the plan to keep students at home is the only logical move. “We have to follow safe county guidelines, and the numbers are horrible. It’s an easy choice.”

Sonoma County has struggled to control the pandemic and public health officials issued guidance this summer advising districts to prepare to stay fully virtual until 2021.

The county is still at the state’s most restrictive purple or “widespread” risk level and would need to move down a tier and remain there for two weeks before schools could reopen. But under this proposal, Santa Rosa schools could remain closed even if the state allows them to open.

“Just going off of the watch list for two weeks does not mean we’re ready to go back,” said Lyon, who explained that safety is not the only obstacle to reopening classrooms.

“Because we’re not in school right now, there are a lot of positions that haven’t been filled. And that’s acceptable. But if we go back in, we’re going to need more substitutes. We’re going to need more janitors. We’re going to need more teachers,” he said.

The district has approximately 16,000 students. If the proposal is approved, the district will reconvene in December to make plans for the remainder of the school year.