Sonoma County schools are preparing for students’ return to campuses. Credit: “Courtesy of SCOE
With vaccines more available, cases waning and the ink dry on a 6.6 billion dollar state plan, Sonoma County schools are preparing to resume in-person for the first time in a year.
Under the deal signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Friday, about two-
thirds of the money will fund tutoring, mental health counseling and summer school. The remainder pays for school ventilation system upgrades and the now ubiquitous PPE.
There are, however, plenty of unknowns. Jaime Hansen is communications director for the Sonoma County Office of Education, which coordinates and oversees the county’s school districts.
“At this point it is too soon to have any exact idea of a figure because there are so many details yet to be worked out, and it depends on a range of factors including how many students the districts bring back and when they bring them back.”
According to information posted on the state’s California For All website, Santa Rosa schools will receive just shy of 15 million dollars and a three-month supply of PPE.
Hansen says the additional funds will help, but will likely fall short.
“If you were to ask a district, ‘will this bill cover all of their costs that they could imagine related to COVID-19, the answer would be no, but it certainly is a help and a shot in the arm.”
Under the state deal, districts failing to provide at least some in-person instruction by March 31st lose out on some funding.
Mindful the long summer vacation looms over reopening plans, Hansen says districts are looking to provide more classroom time. That could be regular summer school...
“Or extending their school year into the summer, other options might include extending the school day for some students who need additional support this spring, providing some additional tutoring, there’s a lot of different ways it can be achieved.”
Nearly a third of the county’s 17,000 educators have had their first COVID-19 vaccination.
Hansen said Petaluma’s Two Rock Elementary is set to reopen on the 18th, with many more following on the 29th.