SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) A concerning spike in California coronavirus cases led to a rollback across the state that included Santa Cruz County moving back to the most restrictive "Purple Tier".
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education announced this change will put a pause on schools expanding to hybrid learning.
Late last month the OED announced county schools would begin hybrid learning in January.
Pajaro Valley Unified School District announced Monday night that it would continue distance learning until at least March of next year.
“We still have two major holidays in between. We anticipate it won't get better. So we really didn't want to have it where we pushed it off until after winter break and then after winter break say 'we're not coming back',” PVUSD superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez said.
This means students still have several more months of learning strictly from home in Santa Cruz County.
“We were hoping to go back in January, just so life would be a little easier, but we would like to keep our family safe at the same time and other families,” PVUSD grandmother Cheri Castillo said.
Any schools that have already opened can remain open. The small group instruction on campus for students who were struggling at home will continue, too while Santa Cruz remains in the most restrictive tier.
The superintendent of Santa Cruz County schools says COVID-19 cases have popped up, but there’s been no evidence of transmission between students or teachers on campus.
“That lets us know our protocols are strong, and that we have a good system in place,” Dr. Faris Sabbah said.
Part of the new protocol is survellience testing for school staff. 1,200 staff are already scheduled, and the goal is to test everyone once a month.
“Folks come in, they get tested and they get the results sent only within about 48 hours. It's just one part of our readiness systems to be able to provide information for people to know that they're healthy,” Sabbah said.
The delay to the classroom means more pressure on parents, but Sara Castillo says her household is taking it one day at a time.
"At this point getting upset about it isn’t going to do much good,” Castillo said.
“We know that nothing can replace in-person. So when it seems to be safe, we want to be back. We want to try to make that happen but we just have to keep health in the forefront,” Rodriguez said.
No other school districts have made a decision on when they’ll begin hybrid learning, but as long as the county is in the purple tier moving in-person is not an option.