California Department of Education
Press release

California Department of Education
Press release

Exit: # 21-59
25 August 2021

SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond convened experts in public health and education on Wednesday for a broad discussion on COVID-19 data and mitigation efforts that have resulted in the safe reopening of thousands of schools across California.

The Safe and Successful Schools webinar was developed in partnership by the California Department of Education (CDE), the California Department of Public Health, the State Board of Education, and the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom.

Dr Naomi Bardach of the Safe Schools for All team and State Council President Linda Darling-Hammond shared information on California’s robust and multi-layered approach to COVID-19 prevention, which does not has resulted in no delay in reopening schools so far during the fall semester. Bardach and Darling-Hammond shared data that shows how state-backed COVID-19 testing programs, on-site vaccination clinics, universal masking and detailed quarantine advice have helped keep California students in the classroom and to learn despite the awkward climb of the Delta variant. A recording of the webinar is available on the CDE Facebook page
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“In-person teaching is so important for our students to be close to their peers and to have access to their educators, I want to congratulate all of our school districts who have opened and those who are preparing to open in the coming days,” Thurmond said. “We know what you have done is amazing to support our students and we also know this is happening under very difficult circumstances as we see the Delta variant continue to create challenges. But even so, by following all COVID mitigation strategies, we can keep our schools open and keep our children safe. Vaccines, mask wear and regular testing continue to provide a high quality educational opportunity for our students. Today is the first of many conversations we hope to have with our education leaders, parents and partners about how we operate and how we can keep ourselves safe and support students. “

Thurmond cited the webinar as another important effort in the state’s continuing message on how immunizing every eligible person will be essential for schools and communities.

“Research confirms that we need to keep schools open to promote the mental, socio-emotional and academic well-being of students,” Bardach said. She explained that new data shows that the Delta variant is more than twice as contagious as previous variants and that those who are not vaccinated are more than 11 times likely to be positive. Bardach said the vaccines are effective against Delta and have walked through key layers for safe schools that include combined vaccines with testing, masking, ventilation and staying home when sick.

Darling-Hammond urged local education agencies (LEA) to plan and prepare for prosecution of high cases, but said California is in a better place due to vaccines and masking. “We are a long way from the winter power surge in California, there are no delays in California due to COVID,” Darling-Hammond said. She explained how LEAs can access clinics located in schools, receive grants to become vaccine providers, and how independent study can be used as a short and long term option to ensure that instruction is ongoing. during quarantine. “If we open up vaccination clinics, especially in middle and high schools, we’ll be in a very different place in a few months,” Darling-Hammond said.

Before concluding the webinar, Thurmond acknowledged the resilience he has witnessed firsthand during his recent visits to schools across the state. “COVID-19 is the most difficult challenge most of us will experience in our lifetime,” Thurmond said.

“We can’t control what the coronavirus does, but we can control what we do and how we respond to it – we’re all in the same boat and as difficult as it may be, it can be done and the rewards are great. : give students the opportunity to have in-person instruction.

The Safe and Successful Schools webinar includes an American Sign Language interpretation service and can be viewed on the CDE’s Facebook page
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. Slides from today’s presentation
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are available for download from the California Department of Public Health website. To find a vaccination clinic near you, visit the My Turn – California COVID-19 website
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Tony Thurmond – State Superintendent of Public Education
Communications Division, Suite 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last revised: Thursday, August 26, 2021

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