Mt. Diablo Unified School District alters plans for reopening campuses

Mt. Diablo Unified School District alters plans for reopening campuses

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Contra Costa, along with 41 California counties, moved to the most restrictive Purple Tier. This comes in response to the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases in the state. This new surge represents a setback for efforts to reopen schools in the state. Some had hoped that the worst of the pandemic was behind us and on-campus learning and/or hybrid distance and on-campus learning could return on a broad basis.

Newsom applied an “emergency brake” on reopening schools and businesses as the average daily percentage of COVID-19 tests that returned positive in Contra Costa has increased sharply, from 1.9% on Oct. 16 to 3.6% on Nov. 16. His order dictates that K-12 schools may not reopen for in-person instruction unless they have already begun to do so, which many local private and charter schools have done this fall.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District was preparing to start phasing in face-to-face instruction Jan. 11. However, Superintendent Adam Clark said that the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the county will likely force the district to re-think its plans.

“What I think can happen is that we can start serving some of our higher-need students who are really struggling,” Clark said. “That may look different from full hybrid reopening. And if the trends continue to the negative we can reposition ourselves to set up a system to welcome smaller groups of those students.”

Schools around the state impacted by this new order must now reevaluate their next steps.

Related story: MDUSD targets hybrid start Jan. 11; private, charter schools have returned