Education leaders throughout Imperial County have been working diligently to plan for a safe return to school in the Fall. Utilizing local, regional, state, and federal guidance, along with stakeholder input, this effort has resulted in the development of the Pathway to Reopening Our Schools: COVID-19 Recovery Guidance which is being released today.
The education community is committed to the safety and security of students, staff, and our families. In March, our local schools closed their doors to our students and the public in an effort to maintain the safety and well-being of our community. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of facilities reemphasized the critical role our schools play in our community, not only as educational institutions, but also in meeting nutritional, socio-emotional, and safety needs.
Earlier this month, the start of local and regional recovery planning efforts was announced. Recognizing the complexity of the task, educational leaders have been working closely with local public health officials, as well as municipal and county government officials, to ensure that when we reopen our school facilities to the public, we do so in a safe and thoughtful manner.
The Pathway to Reopening Our Schools: COVID-19 Recovery Guidance is comprised of guidelines for Imperial County school districts to use as they work with their respective planning teams and stakeholders to develop district plans for re-opening schools for the 2020-21 school year.
“This document incorporates best practices based on what we know today,” stated Dr. Todd Finnell, County Superintendent of Schools. “However, the circumstances related to this pandemic are dynamic and ever-evolving, which will cause us to continually revisit our guidance and respective planning efforts.”
As our schools resume services in the Fall, they may likely vary from city to city, district to district, and potentially school site to school site. Each individual plan will reflect the needs, priorities, and capacity of each site to protect our students and staff while providing essential services for our students, families, and greater community.
As with all aspects of our COVID-19 pandemic recovery, patience and flexibility are key. What we know and learn about COVID-19 will evolve, but our focus will continue to be on creating an environment in which our students feel safe when learning, our teachers feel safe when teaching, and our families trust that their students will be safe and protected in our care.
The Pathway to Reopening Our Schools: COVID-19 Recovery Guidance can be accessed online here.
Safety and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator