Bay Area Students Could Return To Classrooms By Next Week

Next week could see a "Back to School" day like we're used to with kids putting on their backpacks and heading to the classroom, as more schools are getting the green light to reopen in-classroom learning.

These are mostly private and parochial schools in counties like Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin and Contra Costa. The state has allowed county health officials to permit schools to open up earlier than state guidelines allow on a case-by-case basis.

In Marin County some schools could open as early as next week. 15 elementary schools in the county applied for waivers last month and have been approved to reopen on Tuesday. And the county has seen a dramatic enough drop in active cases that officials are expecting the county to move down a tier on the state’s risk chart, which would allow all county schools to hold in-person classes as early as Sept. 22.

But health officials say that while restrictions might be relaxing, it does not mean that individuals can relax as well. In fact, because in-classroom learning means more mixing of households, Marin County’s Deputy Health Director Dr. Lisa Santoro says this means families need to be even more careful about socializing.

“We’ll be releasing a parent handbook that really encourages people to think small and to limit their social activities and to limit their travel because that’s when we’re exposing individuals,” she said. “Parents play a critical role in also thinking small and limiting their engagement, so we can make sure that when kids come to school the risk of their exposure to COVID-19 always remains low because of our protective behaviors.”

That means limiting mixing of households and keeping any socializing outside, with masks on.