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10/1/2020 Letter Regarding the Status of School Reopening

October 1, 2020

Dear Antioch Unified School District Parents/Guardians and Staff, 

I hope this message finds you well and that you are settling into the new school year. As you may recall, we made a commitment to our families and staff to decide whether to partially or fully open schools or to remain in distance learning by mid-October. That date is quickly approaching.

Opening our schools in a manner that protects the health and safety of students and staff is our number one priority. Currently, according to the Contra Costa County Department of Public Health (CCCDPH), Contra Costa County remains in the red tier indicating “substantial” spread of COVID-19 as measured by testing positivity rates, hospitalizations, and ICU rates. Additionally, health officials are warning that a second wave of the virus may lead to a significant increase in hospitalizations beginning this month. These factors are further compounded with the onset of what is expected to be a serious flu season that may further complicate contact tracing. With less reliable contact tracing, schools may not be able to reliably identify students who have been exposed to the virus.

Thus, out of an abundance of caution, on October 7th, I will be recommending that our schools remain closed until the end of the second quarter on January 29, 2021. This recommendation will take place at a Special Board of Education Meeting that will begin at 5:30 pm. Should the Board of Education agree with this recommendation, students will remain in distance learning and we will re-evaluate when to fully or partially open schools sometime in mid-January.

I know that this pandemic has created hardships for many of our students and families and that for many this is not the news they hoped to hear. However, please know that this recommendation is solely based on our desire to keep our students, staff, and families as safe as possible. There is so much we have yet to learn about the virus and its long-term effects on children and adults that it would, in my estimation, be unwise to open at this time.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support and understanding during these challenging times.

Stephanie Anello