Announcement Regarding December Stay at Home Order

A joint announcement from the Sonoma County Officer of Education and Sonoma County Health Department: School Status Unchanged by State’s Regional Stay-Home Order

On Thursday, Gov. Newsom announced a new Stay-at-Home order that tightens restrictions on business and personal activities in regions of the state where hospital ICU capacity drops below 15 percent. 

Sonoma County is part of the Bay Area region, which has the highest ICU capacity in  the state. If trends continue, the state projects ICU capacity in our county to fall below  15 percent in mid- to late-December. The rest of the state will mostly likely trigger these  restrictions in early December. While some Bay Area counties have opted to adopt the  order early, Sonoma County has not and is not currently subject to these  restrictions.  

However, should this order take effect in Sonoma County, the status of school  operations will remain largely unchanged. The order would not modify exiting state guidance regarding K-12 schools. Schools that are already open are able to continue to  provide in-person instruction on school sites. In Sonoma County, the only schools  currently open are those that applied for and received an elementary school waiver or  those operating small cohorts for at-risk students. 

Specifically, the Stay Home order allows:  

  • Schools that are currently operating under an elementary school waiver are able to continue to provide instruction to students on school sites.
  • All schools that have not yet reopened for in-person instruction are able to  continue to serve small cohorts of students (e.g., students with disabilities)  following CDPH Guidance.  

“The state’s intent is to allow schools to continue their current operations so that students and families experience some stability with their education,” said Dr. Steve  Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools.  

Additionally, as long as Sonoma County remains in the purple tier and/or under a Stay  Home order, no additional schools will be able to open for in-person instruction.  Furthermore, per State recommendation the school waiver application process is being  put on hold until the County’s 7-day average daily county case rate is below 14 cases  per 100,000. 

Schools are eligible to reopen for in-person instruction without a waiver once the county  enters the red tier—something that schools around Sonoma County are working hard to  prepare for.  

“The Sonoma County Office of Education is working closely with our local school  districts and the Department of Health Services to ensure that schools are able to open  their doors as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Herrington. “We continue to be concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on  education and are eager to see our children back in classrooms,” said Sonoma County  Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase. “The State relies on health data to decide when  schools can safely welcome students back on campuses. In the meantime, the County  is working with the Sonoma County Office of Education to prepare schools to reopen for  in-person instruction as soon as the State allows.”