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COVID-19 Updates

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Please know we are eager to get school started in Plumas County; however, there are a number of important factors to consider such as safety, staffing, students, siblings, families, facilities, transportation and the current evacuation orders in place.  Any consideration to delay the first day of school requires discussion with multiple stakeholders including state officials to ensure we are making a well informed decision.  As a result, the following information reflects our most recent decisions:

  • Quincy: Quincy schools will start as planned on Tuesday, September 7th
  • Chester: Due to the thorough cleaning of the schools that is taking place, school start will be pushed back to Thursday, September 9th
  • Portola: For safety reasons related to the evacuation warning the start of school will be no earlier than Monday, September 13th 
  • Greenville Elementary at Taylorsville campus: a start date will be determined pending the lifting of evacuation orders.


If additional evacuation orders are announced, the start date of school may be delayed in any one of our communities. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding.  

Joint Statement
Plumas County Public Health Officer, Dr. Mark Satterfield,
Plumas County Board of Education, Plumas Unified School District Governing Board
and Plumas County Superintendent of Schools, Terry Oestreich
Date:    August 18, 2021
Re:     California Department of Public Health Guidance for Schools and Universal Mask Requirements
To:    Parents, Students, Staff, Community Members

It has been a challenging several weeks with our local wildfires and increasing COVID cases in our county.  The good news is that we are looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for full time, in person instruction.  In order to do this in the safest way possible, we will follow guidance from California Department of Public Health  (CDPH) and Plumas County Public Health Agency (PCPHA) including layers of protection.  These layers include:

  • Frequent handwashing
  • Universal masking indoors and on school buses - masking outdoors not required
  • Encouraging vaccinations for those that can be
  • Weekly testing of unvaccinated staff and volunteers
  • Visitors will also be required to wear face coverings

While these layers of protection are not what we would do in a typical year, our highest priority is getting students on campus for the full educational experience, including athletics and extracurricular activities in accordance with all health and safety guidelines..  We commit to working together collaboratively to keep students, staff and our communities safe, while opening our schools.  

As a result of federal and state guidelines regarding indoor mask wearing, Plumas County Office of Education (PCOE) and Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) will adhere to universal mask wearing for students and staff.  The masking requirements are out of the jurisdiction of our local Governing Board.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics and the PCPHA support the current CDPH mask requirement which states, “K-12 students are required to mask indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face-mask guidance” and that “adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students”.  

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases attributable to more contagious variants highlights the need for the use of facial coverings indoors.  Masks provide an extra layer of protection in reducing the transmission of the virus and preventing illness and hospitalization of students and staff.   Universal masking also reduces the frequency of required quarantine, further promoting the safe return to in person instruction.  

With universal indoor masking requirements in place, minimum physical distancing is not required. Updated school health and safety guidance is being developed based on the June 9, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and July 12th, 28th, and August 2nd CDPH guidelines to ensure that all students have access to safe and full in-person instruction.

In addition, on August 11th the State Public Health Officer Order ruled that all public schools must verify vaccine status of all workers.  A process for gathering the data will be provided in the near future.

Lastly, we will continue to work collaboratively to prevent the spread of COVID-19, monitor public health guidance and update protocols as additional information becomes available. 
March 11, 2021 Update
 
Our Governing Board voted unanimously to return to full-time in person instruction on Monday, April 26th.  The following factors influenced the decision last evening:

  • Safety practices are in place at each site.
  • Staffing – administrators will work with Human Resources and post vacant positions as soon as possible.
  • Vaccinations have been offered to all staff with another clinic offered tomorrow at the Fairgrounds.  Second rounds of vaccinations will be done by April 26th.
  • Plumas County has entered the Orange Tier.
  • Support to return to full time instruction from our Public Health partners.
  • Multiple Region 2 school districts have returned to full-time in person instruction.
  • Closed campus for all four high schools.
  • Transportation will be offered with limited capacity.
  • Families will still have the option of distance learning and independent study. 
  • Each principal will send out a survey in the near future inquiring of families preference for student in person, distance learning or independent study.
  • Classroom sizes can be accommodated as follows:
    • Elementary- restructuring classes (some students will change teachers)
    • Elementary- use paras or substitutes to help lower the ratio with intervention
    • Junior High/High School- use all available space on campus (cafeteria, gym, library, some classes will meet outside)
    • Junior High/High School- some teachers will be in multiple locations.
  • Friday’s will be an early release at approximately 12:00 p.m.
  • Canvas will still be used – more discussion to follow.
January 14, 2021 Update
 
Last night, our PCOE/PUSD Governing board approved a return to in person instruction with the following dates:

  • Elementary: January 25th
  • Junior High/High School: March 1st

Due to social distancing guidelines, students will return in the AM/PM model, attending in person the morning or afternoon session Monday-Thursday. Friday will continue with a morning virtual meeting followed by asynchronous work.

With this, there are many details to be worked out and elementary families will be hearing from your school sites soon with further details.

Thank you to everyone for your patience and support as we move forward with welcoming our students back to campus. 
December 16, 2020 Update – Distance Learning Continues 
 
On 12/16, PCOE/PUSD Governing Board voted to return to school on January 4th via distance learning with the commitment to revisit our County’s regional, colored tier, and COVID-19 case rate status at our next Board Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 13th. We are hopeful to return to in-person status on January 25th.
   PUSD leadership has been discussing with school site staff interventions, student supports and grading practices.  The reasons for these discussions, and the need for adjustments, are as follows:
  • Pandemic- We are surviving a pandemic with varying support and priorities.  We must take this into account in the ways we document student learning. 
  • Engagement- making these adjustments can give students who have struggled a sense of hope and a pathway to passing courses. 
  • Equity- Despite multiple supports available, distance learning is not equitable for all students. 
Revert to Distance Learning Beginning November 16th

Due to the increased cases of COVID around our county and multiple meetings over the past several days, Plumas COE and Unified School District will revert to distance learning beginning Monday, November 16th. All students will participate in full time distance learning Monday (11/16) -Friday (11/20), followed by the Thanksgiving Holiday 11/23-11/27. If students need to participate in an Internet hub, please contact your school site.

7th-12th grade students will follow the attached schedule for Zoom class times and asynchronous instruction. TK-6 students should check their Canvas or information from their teacher and school site for Zoom class times. There will be no class/teacher changes at this time.

On Wednesday, November 18th we will have further discussion regarding this topic during our Board Meeting and the length of time we will be in distance learning will be determined.

All conditioning activities and field trips have been canceled through 11/29. Food distribution will be available via community delivery schedules or designated site pickups.

In closing, we appreciate your understanding during these challenging times. The hope for all students, families and staff is to be safe and smoothly transition into distance learning. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your school site.
 
11-13-20 DL HS Schedule
Plumas County Board of Education (PCOE) and Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) Governing Board Trustees conducted a meeting on Wednesday, October 7th, and action was taken to transition to an in-person AM/PM instructional model. 
 
The start date will be Monday October 26, 2020.
 
We will still offer distance learning and independent study for those who prefer alternative instructional models. 
 
 

PLUMAS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION & PLUMAS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT 

Clarification on Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability

The district sends annual parent notifications which state that we are not liable for injury. Because of this, optional insurance policy information is normally sent prior to the start of each year. Due to heightened awareness surrounding COVID-19, the notification and waiver have been called out separately, including the illness provision, and  more legal terminology. In a typical year, the notification regarding lack of district liability is sent in the annual parent notification and acknowledged by checking the box as part of the registration process in Aeries.

Assumption of Risk - this is just stating that while the district will do everything possible to maintain a safe and healthy environment, the parents acknowledge they are choosing to send their child to attend classes in person and there is still an associated risk.

Waiver of lawsuit/liability - agreement not to sue if student contracts COVID-19 or anything else, such as the flu. Aside from COVID-19, this type of waiver for injury is typically included in the annual parent notification packets.

Hold harmless - this is stating that individual employees in addition to the district as a whole would not be held responsible for students contracting COVID-19 or another illness. This does not negate any protections under California law.

 

Plumas County has implemented a phone line and an e-mail for COVID-19 related questions.
Phone Line - (530) 283-6400
Email - COVID19@countyofplumas.com