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Santa Cruz County won’t allow in-person schooling until testing capacity improves

Preparing for school closures

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) The Santa Cruz health officer announced schools in the county would not be allowed to apply for a waiver to resume in-person learning. The school waiver is only applicable for grades TK-6, according state guidelines.

Dr. Gail Newel said Santa Cruz will have to meet state testing standards before any schools are able to apply to open in-person.

Newel says the fix could come from UC Santa Cruz’s lab, which recently received nearly a million dollars in CARES act funding to expand their testing. In about a month in half, it should be able to process as many as 800 results a day.

“The governor set some guidelines that say we should be doing surveillance testing, which means we would have random testing for teachers and have testing available for students,” County Office of Education superintendent Dr. Faris Sabbah said.

In the meantime, distance learning is the next best thing, which Sabbah says they’ve already learned a lot about since spring.

“We thought we were just going to take what we would normally do in the day, and we’re just going to try to put it online and that doesn’t work. That’s not how distance learning works. A lot of the activities are independent so students are working on their own, doing projects and then present,” Sabbah said.

Friday over 400 teachers in Santa Cruz County took part in a "digital boot camp" to prepare for teaching virtually.

Several school districts in the county begin the fall semester from home next week.

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Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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