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Solano County and other Bay Area Health Officers reaffirm support for a return to full, in-person learning
August 31, 2021
SOLANO COUNTY – As Bay Area Health Officials, we are excited that more than a million kindergarten through twelfth grade students are returning to school for in-person learning this fall across the wider San Francisco Bay Area, including in Solano County. In the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley, many children are back in the classroom for the first time since early 2020.
This summer’s surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization due to the spread of the Delta variant is causing people to feel cautious about the return to school. We know that when rates of COVID-19 are high in our communities, cases will appear at schools, just as they do in other settings. However, with effective protocols in place—including universal indoor masking, vaccinations of eligible persons, testing, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick and proper ventilation—the data shows that these multiple layers of defense can stop the spread of COVID in school settings.
The lack of in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic not only disrupted education, but it also weakened social supports and harmed the mental health of students. The risks and benefits of returning to in-person learning are clearer now than any other time during this pandemic – we must all continue to do everything possible to keep kids safely attending their schools.
While children can get COVID-19, severe disease among kids is uncommon, and deaths are exceedingly rare. Transmission can happen in any setting, including in schools, but children are often exposed to COVID-19 at home, or in social settings where safety practices vary considerably. Cases identified by school testing programs may often be unrelated classroom exposure. In Solano County, we are seeing COVID-19 cases among children, but at rates generally lower than among adults. Hospitalizations in children are only 1.7 percent of those reported to date for the summer surge.
The State’s K-12 Schools Guidance for the 2021-22 School Year is practical guidance that emphasizes universal application of the most important safety measures. The guidance also offers flexibility for different approaches to meet the needs and capacities of a broad range of schools and districts seeking to safely keep children in classrooms. Solano County has also produced a Quick Guide for Schools that incorporates Solano Public Health’s guidance regarding suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and exposures in school settings.
School leaders have worked hard to implement this Guidance and are ready to welcome students back. Health Officials continue to monitor the data closely and we will work across the region and the state to adapt when needed.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For upcoming vaccine clinics in Solano County, visit SolanoCounty.com/CovidVaccine. For vaccine clinics available throughout the State, visit MyTurn.ca.gov or Vaccines.gov. For local COVID-19 health information, including the number of COVID-19 cases in Solano County as reflected on the COVID-19 dashboard, visit SolanoCounty.com/COVID19 and on Facebook at Facebook.com/SolanoCountyPH (@SolanoCountyPH).