Capistrano Unified School District Update

Given the current circumstances of online school, there was bound to be some confusion in regards to when schools will open up. The plan was to reopen Dana Hills High School with a “in person/hybrid instruction” on Sep. 14. However, an email sent by Ryan Burris, Chief Communications Officer at Capistrano Unified School District, on Aug. 28 states, “After we sent our email announcing our reopening plan, Governor Newsom announced that the COVID-19 State Monitoring List was being replaced by a new plan with revised criteria.”  Attached to the email was a link to the “Blueprint of a Safer Economy” website, which displays a live map of each county and their current status. There are four tiers which correlate with the spread of COVID-19 in the county: Widespread, Substantial, Moderate, and Minimal. At the time of reporting, Orange County is listed as “Widespread.” Meaning, schools are not permitted to open in Orange County. Along with the county being in the “Widespread” tier, there is a long list of guidelines that the school must follow to reopen, such as: wearing masks, disinfection, and social distancing are all listed. On Tuesday Sep. 1, another email was sent out to students’ families. In this email Buris explains that the board is having a closed meeting in regards to how Governor Newsom’s new guidelines will affect the reopening of school.



California has a four step program to reopen schools and businesses safely, the “Resilience Roadmap.”


Capistrano Unified School District is doing everything they can to make reopening school as smooth as possible. California has a four step program to reopen schools and businesses safely, the “Resilience Roadmap.” The program is outlined as followed:  “Stage 1: Safety and Preparedness – making essential workforce environments as safe as possible,” “Stage 2: Lower Risk Workplaces – creating opportunities for lower risk sectors to adapt and reopen, including modified school programs and childcare,” “Stage 3: Higher Risk Workplaces – creating opportunities for higher risk sectors to adapt and reopen, including movie theaters, religious services, and personal and hospitality services,” “Stage 4: End of Stay Home Order – return to expanded workforce in highest risk workplace, including concerts, conventions, and sports arenas.” This process will allow businesses to slowly open back up as the number of COVID-19 cases diminish. The old guidelines required counties to be off of a watch list for fourteen days in order to begin reopening schools. Now, the new guidelines require counties to be in the “Substantial” tier of the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” system for at least two weeks.



A document found on the CUSD website describes what a typical day under the new guidelines would be like for a student. To summarize, even before entering school parents must check if their child is ill by taking their temperature and asking simple questions about symptoms. When at school, students are required to wear face masks and must be spaced apart. The schools plan to be equipped with portable hand washing stations. While in the classroom desks are going to be spaced apart by at least six feet. Each student will have their own chromebook at school and there will be minimal sharing of objects between one another. Students are to stay inside the classroom except to go to the bathroom. If the class goes outside, in PE for instance, facial coverings are not required, however proper distancing must be practiced. When it is time for lunch, the custodian and staff will wipe down all common hard surfaces; including chromebooks as well. While eating, students are required to wash their hands and distance appropriately. When students are dismissed to leave campus, they will be provided with hand sanitizer and will be reminded to wash their hands when they get home. Henceforth, the district is taking many measures to ensure that students can return to class as safely as possible. New information is frequently being published by the district on their website. 

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