As Ventura County students prepare to return from winter break amid increasing COVID-19 cases in the community, local school leaders are taking all possible steps to ensure the safety of students and employees.
While some colleges and universities have announced plans to revert to distance learning temporarily, this is not an option for Pre-K-12 schools. The State of California does not currently permit Pre-K-12 schools to offer distance learning and expects all schools to keep their doors open for in-person instruction. Schools do provide an independent study option that allows students to learn from home. But unlike distance learning, it must be requested individually by families and is not intended to serve large numbers of students.
“The Ventura County Office of Education is continuing to work closely with Ventura County Public Health and our local school districts to ensure the safety of students and staff,” said Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “A major effort is underway to expand optional COVID-19 testing for students so we can reduce the chances of the virus spreading at school. Many school districts have been working diligently during the winter break to distribute home test kits to families, and we expect a greater supply of kits to be available soon.” Free testing is also available at locations throughout Ventura County.
In addition to expanded testing, local schools are taking a variety of other safety measures. These include enhanced ventilation, mandatory indoor masking, and teaching outside when possible. Ventura County’s increasing vaccination rate and the high percentage of school employees who have been fully vaccinated provide another layer of protection.
Families can help by ensuring that their students are vaccinated, testing children for COVID-19 if they may have been exposed or are presenting symptoms, and keeping them home when they are ill. The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe and effective and is currently available at no charge for children five and older. The COVID-19 booster is now available for everyone 16 years old or older and may be approved for younger kids in the near future. Information about where to get vaccinated in Ventura County is available at https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/vaccine-information.