Alameda County Begins Elementary School Reopening Waiver Process

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September 2, 2020Press ReleaseContact: Michelle Smith McDonald, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, [email protected], (510) 670-4163
Alameda County Begins Elementary School Reopening Waiver Process Waivers allow students in transitional kindergarten to 6th grade to return to campus for in-person instructionOakland, CA – The Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) announced Wednesday that it will begin the process of accepting waivers to bring students in transitional kindergarten to 6th grade on campus for in-person learning at schools in Alameda County.

The Alameda County Office of Education will support that process by assisting with the intake and initial screening of applications from schools and districts that choose to apply.

All Alameda County TK-12 schools – public, private and charter – have been required to start the school year with distance learning based on public health metrics determined by the State of California. The State did allow, however, for counties to develop a waiver process to bring TK-6th grade students back on campus for in-person instruction. After monitoring public health conditions in Alameda County over several weeks, ACPHD and ACOE worked closely together to develop the application and review process released today.

As part of the application process, schools and districts must share a return-to-school plan that is aligned with guidance from the California Department of Public Health and ACPHD. Applicants must include information on how they plan to implement required protocols, including health and hygiene, use of face coverings, physical distancing, and limiting gathering, and conduct COVID-19 contact tracing and testing. They must also share which labor, parent, and community groups they consulted in the reopening process.

ACOE will initially screen the waiver applications and then send them to Alameda County Public Health for review and approval. If approved, they will be submitted to the California Department of Public Health for review. We expect the process to take several weeks from start to completion.

“We know that distance learning presents a challenging environment for students, families and schools, and for some, this waiver is a viable option for bringing students back to classrooms,” said Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe. “We know that the majority of schools across the state that have applied for waivers are independent schools. Schools that explore the waiver option in order to bring back students must be thoughtful and effective in implementing the protocols that will help to create a healthy and safe learning environment for students and staff.”

The application and instructions can be found at
 # # #About ACOE
The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE), under the leadership of County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe, serves as liaison between the California Department of Education and the 18 Alameda County public school districts that serve more than 200,000 students and 10,000 teachers. ACOE provides oversight of district budgets and Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs). ACOE also directly operates schools that serve Alameda County most vulnerable students: Court Schools at the Juvenile Justice Center, ACOE Opportunity Academy schools serving students 16 and older seeking a high school diploma, and Community Schools that serve foster youth, students in substance abuse treatment, pregnant and parenting teens, Probation-referred youth, and students expelled from their resident school districts. ACOE also runs the Infant & Family Support Program, which provides individualized service for children from birth to three years and their families. For more information, visit
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