COVID safety measures: Bay Area schools prepare ahead of new year

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – For many school districts here in the Bay Area, the new school year starts in just a couple of weeks. 

Some of the safety measures put in place for the summer session to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will carry over into the new school year.

Over 5,000 students across 13 campuses attended the summer school session in San Jose’s East Side Union High School District.

The Associate Superintendent of Educational Services, Teresa Marquez says there have not been any transmissions or outbreaks. 

She says the school district will keep the same mitigation measures in place with the new school year set to begin in a couple of weeks.

“Sticking with the mask usage for students and staff that really allowed us to mitigate any kind of transmission or spread of COVID to the fact that we had zero cases. We had sanitizers across all of our classrooms, across all of our common areas. We also had a cleaning schedule for our custodians, where they were able to go across and clean the restrooms on a more frequent basis,” Marquez said. 

Although San Ramon Valley Unified School District’s summer session experienced two cases of COVID, Superintendent John Malloy explains why they intend to follow the same protocol when students return for the new school year.

“We served approximately 4,000 students in our summer program here in the San Ramon Valley School District and we followed all of the requirements of public health and we were able to return our students to campus in a really effective and productive way. I think the most important requirement is the masking, and that has been a strategy that of course we have been expecting to use and we’ve used it. Going into the new school year we are expected to continue that practice,” Dr. John Malloy said. 

Contra Costa County Health Services requires that all staff and students regardless of vaccination status wear masks on school sites. 

The same mask mandate will be in place for students and staff in East Side Union High School District in San Jose and they’ll be adding COVID-19 testing on campuses as well.

“We already currently have it for our staff, so we will be looking to implement that as well for our students,” Marquez said. 

“We were required to test last year and we did. This year it is not a requirement but we are presently reviewing that to see what might be helpful. At this point, no decision has been made,” Malloy said.

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