Written by Julianne Foster
Like San Diego, Orange County has entered the first phases of reopening. While children and parents are finally seeing some relief from the restrictions of COVID-19 on their well-being and education, many others are speculating and fabricating facts about teachers dying from this increase of exposure.
Since they have begun this process the week of September 21, Orange County has opened hundreds of schools and gone further than San Diego and virtually all of California. Their ability to serve as a test case for the rest of the state gives San Diegans hope since, so far, cases and deaths aren’t spiking again.
The 13 different districts to bring back some of their 225,000 students have chosen different routes of reopening, whether that be a few grade levels at a time or only allowing elementary students so far. For those allowed on campus, the schools have set up a routine using a hybrid model that splits students into two groups to rotate different days or time slots per day. If the numbers continue to stay low they are already planning for six more districts to reopen, leaving only nine left to make the switch.
Despite the accomplishments in reopening so many districts, four of the five districts with the highest levels of poverty remain closed. Students of those schools need more attention with in-person learning and technical support than most other districts. Districts that are reopening have done so after facing challenges with financially providing safety equipment for staff and voluntary tests for teachers via mobile test vans. Negotiating agreements with teachers’ unions has also been a roadblock in allowing students back on campus.
All of these restrictions and endless problems exist due to the fears of COVID-19 case numbers spiking when there has been no evidence for it. Numbers have leveled out and have even been dropping despite so many businesses and schools having been reopened for weeks.
Corey A. DeAngelis, the Director of School Choice at Reason Foundation, recently referenced a Brown University study by Emily Oster.
These extremely low numbers make it very difficult to agree with politicians who are holding heavy statewide restrictions over struggling students.