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March 26: Weekly COVID-19 Update

County COVID-19 case rates continued to fall last week though at a slower pace. The adjusted case rate on the state dashboard stood at 7.4 cases per 100,000 residents this week with a 4.2 percent COVID-19 testing positivity rate, adjusted for equity. These numbers keep the county firmly in the revised red tier of the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment system.

Sacramento County Adjusted Cases per 100,000 residents for March 26, 2021

Welcome back to campuses! 

It was the first day of in-person learning on school campuses for most students this week as attendance group A students returned on Monday, March 22 and attendance group B students returned on Thursday, March 25. Check out our return to in-person learning photo album and video!

Federal and state officials change spacing guidance

Late last week, health officials with the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance indicating it was safe to place student chairs as close as three feet apart inside classrooms. On Saturday, the California Department of Public Health altered its health guidance to match the federal language and moved from a requirement of six feet of spacing between student chairs to a recommendation of three feet of distance. 

It’s important to note that the three feet of space applies only to student seating inside classrooms. Physical distancing between individuals remains at six feet in all other instances including common areas on campus, between adult and student desks inside classrooms and when in line or other locations. 

San Juan Unified has consistently followed the guidance of state and local health officials throughout the pandemic and plans to implement this new spacing guidance which will provide the opportunity to offer in-person learning to students four days per week. However, it will take some time for staff to work through the implications of this change including rescheduling transportation services, specialty and service provider schedules (e.g.specialized elementary classes, English language development, special education, etc.) and addressing impacts with employee groups. There is also a significant investment of teacher and staff time in organizing classrooms and lessons when schedule and format changes occur as shown by the recent shift to the current hybrid model. 

Families and staff members will receive an update on progress toward implementing this new guidance and projected timelines after spring break. All schools will return from spring break on the current hybrid schedule with attendance group A on campuses Mondays and Tuesdays and attendance group B on campuses Thursdays and Fridays. 

Senior graduation ceremonies will be in-person

During an update to the Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Rick Messer shared that high schools will host graduation ceremonies in-person this year. The number of attendees at the events will depend on current health conditions and restrictions in place at the time but all ceremonies will also offer a live-stream option. 

Temporary adjustments to graduation requirements proposed

District staff presented a recommendation to the Board of Education to amend the district’s graduation requirements for the Class of 2021. In recognition of the impacts the pandemic has had on student learning, staff are recommending that graduation requirements be aligned with the state graduation standards. Board action is anticipated on the recommendation during the April 13 board meeting.