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12/10/2020 Letter Regarding the Status of Reopening Schools

December 10, 2020

Dear Antioch Unified Staff and Families,

I hope this message finds you well despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you may recall, this past October we made the decision to physically close our schools for in-person learning and to remain in distance learning until at least the end of the first semester, January 29, 2021. At that time, we made a commitment to communicate next steps with parents and staff prior to that date so that families, etc. could make contingency plans if needed.

During this difficult time, our decisions have been solely based on our desire to keep students and staff as safe as possible. Although we would like nothing more than to fully return to in-person learning, recent health data indicates that it would not be wise at this time. Contra Costa County has once again moved into the purple tier indicating “widespread” COVID-19 rates as measured by testing positivity rates, hospitalizations, and ICU rates. Additionally, health officials expect this number to continue rising in the next few months as people begin to gather indoors due to inclement weather and holidays. While there is some good news on the horizon regarding a COVID-19 vaccine, health officials do not expect there to be widespread access to this vaccine until early summer.

As a result of these troubling statistics and out of a sincere desire to ensure the health and safety of our students, their families, and staff, I will be recommending that our schools remain closed for in-person learning until the end of the third quarter, April 16, 2021. This recommendation will take place December 16, 2020 at our regularly scheduled Board of Education Meeting. The meeting will be held virtually and will begin at 7:00 pm. Should the Board of Education accept this recommendation, we will revisit the health data in late March or early April to determine if schools will re-open for in-person learning and/or if we will continue in distance learning.

Please know how very much we value your support and understanding during this difficult time. Additionally, do not hesitate to contact your school’s office at any time should you have any questions or concerns and/or if we can be of assistance in any way.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday filled with hope, joy, and love.

Stephanie Anello