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The Orange County Board of Education voted Monday, 4 to 1 to approve a series of recommendations that would welcome back students, teachers, and staff in the fall, but without requiring the wearing of face coverings and social distancing, vital safety features to slow the spread of the infectious coronavirus.

If you don't know, now you know:

The lone dissenting vote was from District 1Trustee Beckie Gomez, and the only board member to wear a face mask during the school board meeting.

  • The guidance came from a panel of medical experts and education leaders. It also included Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau and County Supervisor Don Wagner, The O.C Voice reports.

  • Temperature checks, frequent hand washing, and nightly cleanings of classrooms, school buses, and offices, but mask and social distancing won't be required.

  • One of the recommendations that were adopted by the board was parents can "send their children to a district or charter school" and "Some parents with the means will opt for private schools or homeschooling."

But, but, but:

Even though the board has the distinguished bureaucratic title of 'board of education,' the Orange County Board of Education has no authority to impose its new guidelines on any of its 27 school districts, according to The OC Register.

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of indoor operations for restaurants, bars, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, cardrooms, and museums in every county in the state effective immediately.

Why it matters:

This past weekend, California surpassed a grim milestone of 7,040 COVID-19 related deaths and had a seven-day average 8,664 new cases per day. Currently, the state has registered a total of 329,162 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

  • California's test positivity rate was 6.1% two weeks ago, now its 7.4%, a 21% increase, and the state's hospitalization rate has increased by 28%, says Newsom.

  • 1,833 people have been admitted to the ICU, a 20% increase over a two week period.

  • All 30 counties on the monitoring list, including Los Angeles and Orange County, have to close fitness centers, places of worship services, protests, offices for non-essential sectors, and personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors, Hair salons and barbershops and Malls.

  • Counties on the state monitoring list make up 80% of California's population, says Newsom.

  • Los Angeles and San Diego Unified School District jointly announced that all students would be learning online for the upcoming fall.

The Orange County Board of Education is expected to recommend the return of students, teachers, and staff for the fall —but without any Coronavirus safety measures like social distancing and wearing face coverings to be in place, The Voice of O.C. reports.

What's Happening:

The Orange County Board of Education's panel has issued a series of recommendations that apply for grades kindergarten to high school.

  • The school board won't recommend social distancing, or reduced classrooms due to "K-12 children represent the lowest-risk cohort for Covid-19".

  • Another COVID-19 health requirement not recommended by the board is not requiring children to wear masks during school because it "is not only difficult – if not impossible to implement – but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not recommended".

  • The panel stresses that parents can "send their children to a district or charter school that will provide that education. Some parents with the means will opt for private schools or homeschooling".

  • The document called distance learning "an utter failure" and that "Abandoning the classroom in favor of computer-based learning proved frustrating to all – not just parents and students but teachers, too."

  • The O.C Board of Education's possible guidelines is at times, diametrically opposite from proposed measures from the California Department of Education. And that, "some of the panel's other sources also explicitly recommended guidance that they chose to go against multiple times, or featured contextual details that were left out in the county's presentation," Voice of O.C. reports.

What they're saying:

  • A person on the panel of experts was anonymously quoted in saying, "This is a disease that kills our most elderly and spares our children. It may sound callous, but would we want it the other way around?"


L.A. Unified and San Diego will go entirely online only for the fall.

Read the Special Meeting Agenda: