Schools Now Shift to Distance Learning
On Tuesday, DJUSD announced that DJUSD schools would remain closed through May 1. However, even that date seemed optimistic—and indeed, on Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that California schools would most likely be closed for the duration of the school year.
In a statement this week, Superintendent Thurmond said, “Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.”
He added, “In order to allow schools to plan accordingly, and to ensure that learning still occurs until the end of the school year, we are suggesting that schools plan and prepare to have their curriculum carried out through a distance learning model. This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.”
Superintendent Garth Lewis of the Yolo County Office of Education stated, “Physical distancing continues to be the best strategy to achieve our collective goal of flattening the curve associated with the spread of COVID-19. The safety and wellness of students, families, school personnel, and the community is our highest priority.”
Superintendent Thurmond added, “We are in unprecedented times, and it’s hard to tell what the future holds as we are all doing our best to flatten the curve. From what we know right now, our schools will be closed longer than we originally thought, and it will be best if our schools are prepared for that extension, by having their distance learning models prepared to go until the end of the school year.”
On Wednesday Governor Newsom announced an agreement between teaching staffs “to work together to provide distance learning to California’s students as a result of school closures due to mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 outbreak. The agreement means more kids will be able to get school resources, such as quality distance instruction, and empowers teachers to create lessons within clear parameters.”
“While schools might be physically closed, class is still in session,” said Governor Newsom. “This agreement is good news for students and parents, and the announcement means that more California kids will have tools to learn at home during this crisis.”
Stay in Place Extended for Yolo County
Yolo County extended their shelter-in-place order to continue through May 1, which aligns with other timelines.
The original health order that was issued on March 18 only extended to April 7.
“I am proud of the people and businesses of Yolo County who have supported the orders to stay at home and practice social distancing. Such public health measures take time to slow, and eventually stop, the COVID-19 virus spread,” said Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman. “Given the increasing number of cases in our county, and surrounding counties, the order to stay at home has been extended to May 1.”
As of Wednesday, Yolo County had 28 confirmed cases with one fatality.
“The majority of cases became infected through community spread,” a press release read. “In response, counties throughout California have sought to slow the spread of the illness through issuing orders for residents to stay at home and limit activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs.”
The Yolo County order defines essential activities as necessary for health and safety for individuals and their families such as buying food, obtaining medication, or working in an essential business.
“The decision to extend the order reflects the continuing spread of the virus. Everyone must do their part to stay home, practice social distancing and frequent hand washing, and avoid touching their face,” said Yolo County Board Chair Gary Sandy. “Strict observance of this order is the most effective way to contain the spread of this virus and to protect our brave health professionals and first-responders.”
Yolo County Launches a Dashboard
To assist in informing the public regarding local COVID-19 cases, Yolo County is also launching a new online dashboard located at: www.yolocounty.org/coronavirus-dashboard. The dashboard displays data regarding confirmed cases in Yolo County by city/area, age range, gender, and more. The data only shows laboratory confirmed cases, which represent a small portion of the total cases in Yolo County, since the ability of labs to do testing is extremely limited.
“The Covid-19 virus is everywhere and people need to stay home,” said Dr. Chapman. “When the Covid-19 pandemic started the number of Yolo County confirmed cases was low and we could not share city of residence in order to protect patient privacy. Now that the number of cases has significantly increased we can share the numbers in the three largest cities and the Winters/unincorporated area. I encourage people to read the dashboard description which explains the differences in case counts across the county.”
Dashboard will be updated each day at 5 pm
—David M. Greenwald reporting