SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — According to the airlines, millions of Americans are traveling this week, which has many wondering what that means for schools when kids head back after the holiday.
CBS13 has learned that area schools with in-person classes do not plan to enforce the 14-day quarantine outlined in the state travel advisory.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Health Secretary Dr. Ghaly reiterated Monday, that people should stay close to home this Thanksgiving. ”
“We’re asking you to keep as local as you can. Don’t travel beyond just a couple few hours,” Ghaly said.
However, despite the state travel advisory, many are still heading out of town for the holiday, causing concern for some that kids will bring coronavirus back to class when they return from states with higher rates of COVID-19.
As CBS13 first reported last week, one Placer County dad was shocked when his son’s school said he didn’t have to quarantine after playing in a soccer tournament out of state. ”
“The school doesn’t have any kind of mandates for that,” Chris said.
The state’s travel advisory says Californians “should practice self-quarantine for 14 days” after non-essential travel. But CBS13 surveyed local school districts and found that not a single district or county department of education had a quarantine policy or recommendation for students returning from out of state.
After our story aired last week, the California Department of Public Health clarified that the advisory applies “to all Californians” and while the state “does not have a separate, statewide school travel policy, counties and specific school districts may have more restrictive guidelines.”
Linden Superintendent Rick Hall says they’re getting conflicting information. San Joaquin County is one of many counties where districts have opted not to require student travel quarantines.
“It’s an advisory and it’s been defined as a recommendation, not a requirement,” he said referring to the state travel advisory. “Our requirements come through the published guidance for schools,” Hall said.
He’s one of many who point to the state’s school reopening framework and other school guidance which doesn’t reference travel at all.
He also questions how they could enforce a travel-related quarantine. “We don’t know who’s at home, who’s not,” Hall said.
His sentiments were echoed by other local districts and County Departments of Education.
The Placer County Department of Education said most districts there “have taken an informational/education approach and encouraging school communities and families take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19.”
For now, it appears it’s up to parents to voluntarily keep COVID out of classrooms when students return next week.
Depending on class size, even one positive case could lead to required class quarantines, which, of course, would mean a return to distance learning under the state guidelines and no classroom instruction for anyone in the class.