Message from the County Superintendent
As the school year begins, it is more important than ever to focus on the singular mission we share with our educational community: we support student learning. Whatever form student learning takes, the Kings County office of Education will be there to support our districts and the students we all serve. In these times of physical distancing, it is more important that we come together in our hearts and in our minds. Only together will we overcome the challenges we face.
For over five months, the Kings County Office of Education has been collaborating with the Kings County Department of Public Health, hosting weekly meetings with local school district leaders in preparation for the safe reopening of schools. Moving forward, we will continue to coordinate our efforts, leverage resources and share best practices.
Local districts were planning on offering both full time, in-person learning and distance learning options for families who needed their students to learn from home. These efforts were validated with the passage of Senate Bill 98, signed by Governor Newsom on June 29, 2020, which reads, in part, that “local education agencies [schools] shall offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.”
However, on Friday, July 17, 2020, the governor announced that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) had issued new mandatory requirements regarding the opening of schools for in-person instruction. The CDPH suspended all in-person instruction at schools in counties on the State’s COVID-19 “monitoring list,” including all public schools, private schools and colleges. Kings County is on the monitoring list along with most other counties in California. Under the State’s criteria, schools can only open for in person instruction once a county has been off the monitoring list for 14 days.
We all put safety first for students, staff and community. In deference to the medical authority of the CDPH, each superintendent, acting on behalf of their board of trustees, made the decision to open schools with distance learning only.
I want to acknowledge our colleagues within our local department of public health, in the county office of education, and in our public and private school districts. All have been working diligently to plan for a safe school reopening. We will continue our efforts and look forward to a safe return to school. We believe that, under normal circumstances, the best place for our students is in school, full time, five days per week.
The time for reopening will come. When it does, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Local plans will vary depending on the size of their student population, the capacity of their facilities, and community needs. Each superintendent will work with their staff, acting on behalf of their elected, and a five member board of trustees to decide how to reopen. The Kings County Office of Education and Kings County Department of Public health are dedicated to supporting those efforts.
We encourage parents, guardians and community members to stay in contact with their local school teachers and leaders as we all navigate through this distance learning landscape. Links to district web pages are located at www.kingscoe.org.
What might parents, guardians and family members do to help?
- Communicate with your local school leaders and teachers. Ask questions. Stay informed.
- Support local school staff who are facing an unprecedented challenge.
- Be as positive as you can. A child’s attitude will mirror an adult's outlook.
- Reinforce healthy habits and good hygiene practices at home.
Thank you for your understanding in our efforts to keep our communities safe and in our obligation to comply with state mandates in the name of public safety. We urge everyone to support their board members, administrators, teachers and school staff during this time as they work together for the benefit of our students.
COVID~19 Links and Resources
County Data Chart:
Governor’s Announcement, July 17, 2020:
Kings County Department of Public Health Local Bulletin, July 17, 2020: https://www.countyofkings.com/home/showdocument?id=23953
CDPH Industry Guidance for Schools:
CDPH Framework for Reopening Schools: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Schools%20Reopening%20Recommendations.pdf
County data and monitoring status:
John Hopkins Data:
Distance Learning Standards Graphic: