San Luis Obispo County K-12 schools can choose to reopen in-person with modifications, County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said on Oct. 6. Schools must maintain criteria outlined in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy

In accordance with county and state guidelines, all San Luis Obispo County schools that reopen will do so with enhanced safety measures. All students and faculty will be required to wear masks, social distancing will be maintained and frequent sanitization will be in place.

The updated guidelines for reopening come after San Luis Obispo County has remained in the red “substantial” tier of COVID-19 transmission rate for more than two weeks. 

Per state guidance, schools that reopen during this time will not be required to close again if transmission returns to purple “widespread” levels. In this event, schools would be asked to consider increased testing of staff. 

Many San Luis Obispo County school districts have begun to consider a partial reopening plan under the new guidelines. 

Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is currently awaiting approval on a plan for return to hybrid instruction. Under the proposed plan, transitional kindergarten through fifth grade will return to in-person instruction at half-capacity, according to the district’s reopening guide. Half of the students would report in the morning, half in the afternoon Tuesday through Thursday. Students in sixth through twelfth grade will continue distance learning through the end of the semester.

“[Reopening] is a topic I know a lot of people have strong feelings about. … We put a lot of work into this plan and we want to keep our kids and staff safe,” said Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola in a video posted Tuesday. 

The tentative return date for in-person instruction is Nov. 2 for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, Nov. 16 for first and second grade, and November 30 for third through fifth grade, according to the latest information posted on the district’s Facebook page.  

The San Luis Coastal Unified School District plans to continue with distanced learning and reassess their plan in January. All current updates on reopening are posted on their website under Reopening Recommendations and Requirements, with planning levels outlined. If and when in-person instruction happens, families will have the option to maintain distanced learning in place of these plans. 

Atascadero Unified School District has also announced its plan for hybrid instruction contingent on approval by the County Public Health Office. Similar to Paso Robles, Atascadero will only bring back elementary-aged children starting in November. The district has not provided any updated plans for middle and high school instruction. 

The Pleasant Valley Joint Union School District is currently in the process of getting a waiver approved to reopen. The current plan on their website is outdated. Updates will be provided when possible. 

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