Alameda County middle, high schools allowed to resume in-person learning

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Alameda County officials have given the go-ahead for middle and high schools to resume in-person classes.

Schools will have to submit a health and safety reopening plan to the county and - if approved - they'll be allowed to open their doors beginning November 9. The county moved up to the orange tier on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list October 13, allowing schools with transitional kindergarten through 6th grade to reopen that day.

Orange is second on the state's four tier system.

However, of the 58 K-6 schools that have reopened or submitted a planned opening date so far, the county said only one public school and one charter school were among that list.

"The Public Health Department and the Health Care Services Agency are responsible for determining when it is safe to permit students and staff to return to in-person education in Alameda County," Alameda County Interim Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in a news release. "That does not mean all schools have the resources to be ready as soon as opening is permitted. Some schools will need more time and should open classrooms only when they and their school communities are prepared to do so."

The county said it will work with schools and districts to get students back into classrooms as safely as possible.

"We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations," said Dr. Moss. "If we begin to see sustained increases in case rates, we will act to protect public health including restricting currently allowed activities as needed."

However, not all districts will move at the same pace.

"There’s a lot that has to go in to actually opening schools," Oakland Unified School District Communications Director John Sasaki told KCBS Radio when the county gave the green light for K-6 schools to reopen earlier this month. "One of the things that we really have to consider is what are the conditions on the ground. Are we in Oakland experiencing the ideal circumstances to allow us to reopen the way maybe some of the other parts of the county are?"

For Oakland Unified schools, Sasaki said contractual agreements with the union representing Oakland’s teachers will play a part in the reopening process.