The Board of Education in Orange County, California voted on Monday to reopen schools and do not require social distancing or face coverings for students.
What we know:
- The board voted 4-1 in favor of guidelines that reopen district schools for the fall term. The guidelines recommended frequent handwashing, daily temperature checks, and nightly facility disinfection. The glaring omission from the recommendations is not requiring any kind of social distancing or face coverings.
- “K-12 children represent the lowest-risk cohort for COVID-19. Because of that fact, social distancing of children and reduced census classrooms is not necessary and therefore not recommended,” read the school board’s recommendations. “Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only difficult – if not impossible to implement – but not based on science. It may even be harmful and is therefore not recommended.”
- According to the CDC, people at any age with underlying conditions are at a higher risk for the coronavirus. The board’s recommendations addressed families who won’t feel safe with their child at school, saying school districts will “accommodate these choices to the best of their ability,” providing no further detail.
- Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced earlier that they will not reopen schools in the fall. Orange County is known for being one of the most conservative counties in California, one of the centers of opposition to face mask mandates in the state. Former Chief Health Officer Nichole Quick resigned in June after receiving death threats in response to her order requiring masks.
Several parents and teachers demonstrated outside the board meeting, calling for schools not to reopen without proper safety precautions.