July 20, 2020

Contra Costa County Community,

On July 17, Governor Newsom announced the California Department of Public Health has released updated Guidance for Schools and School-Based Programs and he also set the metrics that all schools (public and private) and county public health officials must use to determine whether to reopen schools to in-person instruction. This guidance addresses the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, increased hygiene practices and cleaning, as well as rules for operating transportation and sports programming. You can find the Guidance for Schools and School-Based Programs at the COVID-19 website at, clicking on the “Industry Guidance” section, and scrolling down to the Schools tab.

The specific metrics schools must meet to open to in-person instruction as well as metrics to remain open include:

  • Schools and school districts can reopen only when their county has been off of the monitoring list for 14 days
  • Criteria for Closing a Classroom and/or School: “When at least five percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are cases within a 14-day-period; OR when the Local Health Officer determines classroom/school closure is warranted for other reasons, including local factors and public health investigation.”
  • Criteria for Closing a District: “A superintendent should close a school district if 25 percent or more of schools in a district have closed due to COVID-19 within 14 days, in consultation with the local public health department.”

As you may be aware, Contra Costa County was placed on the California County Monitoring List on May 17, and remains there as of today, July 20. California Department of Public Health placed Contra Costa County on the COVID-19 County Data Monitoring watch list in response to elevated disease transmission and increasing hospitalization. The state maintains a list of counties on the monitoring list,

counties currently being monitored at this step, the drivers of their situation, and key action steps identified can be found on this web page.

Therefore, at this time, because Contra Costa County is on the California County Monitoring List, all Contra Costa County schools must resume the 2020-2021 school year in Distance Learning as they are unable to open to in-person instruction.  Elementary schools may seek a waiver if they meet certain conditions.  For more information on your district or charter school’s start date and plans for Distance Learning, please contact your district or charter school.

For parents/families who work as essential workers and others who are in need of childcare, please visit We recognize the significant impact school closures have on our entire community, students, families, and staff. The Contra Costa County Office of Education, our 18 school districts and 8 charter schools will continue to work diligently and collaboratively towards a safe reopening of schools to in-person instruction in Contra Costa County when health conditions allow.

For more information and additional resources see our website.

Thank you for your patience and persistence during this time.

Lynn Mackey

Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools

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