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April 8: Weekly COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 case rates and testing positivity crept up in Sacramento County on this week’s official state dashboard with an adjusted case rate of 9 cases per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity rate, adjusted for equity, of 4.7 percent. The county remains in the red tier of the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment system. 

California did reach its goal of delivering 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to targeted areas which activates new markers for the color tiers of the state’s assessment system. The breakpoint between the red and more restrictive purple tier remains at a case rate of 10 cases per 100,000 residents while the divider between red and the less restrictive orange tier now stands at 6 cases per 100,000 residents. Sacramento County’s testing positivity rate currently qualifies for the orange tier so the county would advance if case rates fell to less than 6 cases per 100,000 residents.

Sacramento County Adjusted Cases per 100,000 residents

District makes asymptomatic COVID-19 testing available to all students and staff 

As part of our comprehensive effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, San Juan Unified encourages all students and staff to complete a COVID-19 screening once every two weeks. To make the process easier, the district is providing testing sites each Tuesday that are accessible to students and staff. Additional sites are open for staff on Wednesdays. 

Testing is absolutely free to those being tested and is completed via a self-administered nasal swab. You can check out a video of the process. (Assistance will be provided for students under age 13 to complete the process successfully.) 

Visit www.sanjuan.edu/covidtest for a full list of test dates, locations and times and to complete the one-time pre-registration. 

Implementation of reduced spacing between students in classrooms 

Just as San Juan Unified students returned to in-person learning on March 22, federal and state officials modified the required amount of spacing between students when inside classrooms. The latest guidance now recommends students can be safely seated three feet from each other when measuring from the center of the back of each chair. 

As the district has consistently followed the guidance of state and local health officials, work is underway to determine the best strategy to implement this change in guidance to best meet the needs of our students. It is important to recognize that an incredible amount of time, energy and hard work went into establishing schedules, modifying routines and preparing for students’ return to in-person learning in the current hybrid format. Shifting again to meet this new guidance involves much more than simply rearranging desks inside of classrooms. 

During the week of March 22 and continuing through this week, district staff engaged employee group leaders in conversations regarding the impacts a shift might have on working conditions. During the spring break, facilities staff worked to establish demonstration classrooms to model potential layouts of furniture given the distance requirements. And, approximately 4,000 new student desks were ordered to be used inside classrooms which currently utilize tables intended for two students. 

Schools will continue to implement the prior six feet of distance requirement inside the classroom while work continues to address all elements of a transition including the rerouting of the transportation system and rescheduling of specialized student services if required. 

It is important to keep in mind that the physical distancing requirements outside the classroom and for adults in all spaces have not changed. Individuals are expected to maintain six feet of distance between each other and must continue to wear face coverings. 

State expected to lift most restrictions in mid-June; Full in-person learning returns this fall 

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California expects to lift most industry restrictions by mid-June if COVID-19 vaccines are readily available and hospitalization rates remain stable. 

Impact on in-person learning for 2021-2022: 

In making the announcement, state officials clearly indicated that both K-12 and higher education institutions would be able to return to full-time in-person instruction. It is expected that students and staff will continue to be required to use face coverings and other restrictions including routine COVID-19 testing may be implemented in some situations. More will be known as decisions to lift or modify restrictions are finalized in coming months. 

Impact on distance learning for 2021-2022:

No indication was given in Tuesday’s announcement whether school districts would be required, expected or allowed to continue offering distance learning for those families who wish to select the model. San Juan Unified currently plans to offer distance learning for those families who actively choose the model. They will be served by dedicated distance learning teachers allowing for a full return to in-person instruction for other students.

Impact on this school year, 2020-2021: 

The announcement does not change current restrictions and the 2020-2021 school year will be completed in a hybrid format. Events and other activities including graduations will still be subject to restrictions in alignment with state and local health orders.