ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO OPEN SCHOOLS. NO MASKS OR SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIRED.
The Orange County Board of Education voted 4-1 Monday in favor of reopening schools. It approved a set of recommendations that include temperature checks and frequent hand-washing, but reject social distancing and the use of face masks. The Board also rejected “hybrid models” for schools to reduce the number of children on campus at any given time, calling distance learning an “utter failure.” Trustee Beckie Gomez dissented.
Despite OCBOE’s recommendations, individual districts will make the ultimate decisions on when and how to reopen. School districts across the county have already said they will not follow the Board’s lead. Anaheim Unified and Santa Ana Unified will continue distance learning in the fall. Capistrano and Tustin Unified will offer a hybrid model or full distance learning.
Monday’s vote garnered national attention and criticism, including from the county’s own education officials.
“We are in Anaheim with the highest percent of Covid-19 infections in the Orange County," Magnolia School District Superintendent Frank Donavan told CNN. "The Board's vote last night is not safe and is politicizing something that shouldn't be political."
The OCBOE’s vote came one day after the state’s two largest districts, Los Angeles and San Diego Unified, announced they would keep campuses closed in the fall.