On Nov. 16, Governor Newsom announced that due to an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, Santa Clara County has moved back into the Purple or Widespread Tier as defined in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Guidance about how this will impact the county can be found on the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) website. Schools that were already in the process of a phased return to in-person instruction or support will be allowed to continue their opening of school campuses while maintaining strict adherence to the guidelines provided by the SCCPHD. As such, we will be moving forward with our plans to bring back small groups of students on to our campuses for instructional support.
As these small groups of students begin to return to our campuses over the next few weeks, our schools will look much different than in previous years due to the health and safety measures laid out by the SCCPHD in their guide COVID-19 Prepared: Reopening of Santa Clara County K-12 Schools for the 2020-21 School Year. Our plan to begin reopening our school facilities and campuses to students is based on this guidance, which all districts in the county are required to adhere to.
And while we are planning to start small in terms of the number of students being brought back to our campuses, we wanted to share our safety protocols and procedures with our entire school community, as they are the protocols we will continue to use and build upon as we move into second semester and continue to gradually expand the number of students on campus. As we previously announced, distance learning will remain in place for the first six weeks of the second semester, however, we felt it was important to share the guidelines we will be adhering to as we provide additional in-person support for our students that are struggling with the current instructional model.
The FUHSD Guide to Bringing Back Students, which we are sharing with you today, has been developed with a constant focus on how to best serve our students and will be updated as we continue to implement the most current requirements and best practices. It includes critical information about the safety precautions we are taking to keep every member of our school community safe as we begin this process of welcoming small groups of students back to our campuses, and contains specific information on the requirements students must adhere to prior to arrival and while on campus, social/physical distancing in our classrooms and and other spaces, personal protective equipment, ventilation, cleaning and disinfection protocols, mental health resources and the process for reporting and communicating when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in our school community. We hope that you will take the time to review the information contained within the guide over the coming days. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our schools begin to reopen safely and continue to provide a healthy learning environment for each and every student.
At this time, students will be invited back to our campuses for instructional support based on need. Our first priority will be to focus on students who have not been engaged in schooling through the remote learning environment. School site staff is looking through progress report grades and attendance records to help determine which students are most in need of additional support with their remote instruction. Consideration will also be given to students in special education whose individual education plans may necessitate in person support.
HOLIDAY PLANS & TRAVEL GUIDELINES
As we head into the holiday season, we also want to share the latest guidelines from the Public Health Department regarding holiday plans and travel. Please take some time to review the Recommendations for Staying Safe from Covid-19 During the Holidays. The joint recommendations advise that if you gather in person, keep it small, short, stable and outdoors.
Also, nonessential travel, including holiday travel, is not recommended. Travel outside the Bay Area will increase your chance of getting infected and spreading the virus to others after your return. If you travel outside the Bay Area, it is strongly recommended that you self-quarantine for 14 days after your return if your activities while traveling put you at higher risk of getting COVID-19.
It is our hope that our FUHSD Guide to Bringing Back Students will provide our families and staff with the information they need to understand the precautions we are taking to keep every member of our community safe in this rapidly evolving landscape. We know this school year has looked very different from those in the past and has required many adjustments and a great deal of flexibility from each of us. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our schools begin to reopen safely and continue to provide a healthy learning and school environment for our students and staff. Thank you for your patience as we continue to plan to welcome more students and staff back on to our campuses.