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Schools, Community Feeling Impact Of Coronavirus Surge

The recent spike in coronavirus cases across California has had some far-reaching impacts in the local area.

On Monday, July 13 school district superintendents throughout the county met with Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, the Stanislaus County Public Health Officer. While the goal for the past few months has been to safely get children back to in-classroom education, the new school year will not start that way.

“Dr. Vaishampayan provided an update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and recent community spread and determined the guidelines for K-12 education moving forward,” indicated a statement released Monday afternoon by the Stanislaus County Office of Education. “Widespread community transmission has forced us to make the difficult decision to delay the return of our children to school classrooms. This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators, and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August.”

In addition to the distance learning model being in place for schools, the surge in cases prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to once again enact a widespread order for the shutting down or scaling back of many businesses and services in an effort to flatten the curve.

Governor Newsom closed indoor operations in a number of areas. Changes affect the following: dine-in restaurants; wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, cardrooms, bars, fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and barbershop and malls.

Residents will need to adjust once again to the closures and revamped business models, as will business owners.

On the educational front, said SCOE officials, the following determinations were made by Dr. Vaishampayan:

• Schools should open in August with a Distance Learning Model;

• All conditioning for fall sports are suspended until further notice;

• Extracurricular activities (i.e., band, sports, theater/drama, etc.) are also suspended until further notice.

“We recognize the significant impact school closures have on our entire community, students, families, and staff. SCOE and all 25 school districts will continue to work diligently and collaboratively towards a prompt and safe reopening of schools in Stanislaus County when health conditions allow,” the statement concluded.

Oakdale Joint Unified School District Superintendent Marc Malone said the district schools will plan accordingly for the distance learning model with the first day of school scheduled for Aug. 6.

Meanwhile, the superintendent said that it’s now unknown whether the district can host hoped-for in person graduations later this month.

“The OJUSD will stay true to our word and communicate graduation plans by not making the official announcement on graduation until July 21,” Malone said. “That being said, we are certainly not trending in the direction that would allow us to offer any version of our traditional ceremony.”