By Heather Janssen

YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A new health advisory in Yuba and Sutter counties recommends in-person dining to end, for families to limit outings to once a week for essentials, and for all grades to revert back to distance learning.

The school suggestion is one not even the state is asking for during the impending stay-at-home order. The Yuba City Unified School District sent out a letter to parents on Friday and said starting Monday, Dec. 7, campuses will be empty.

“It’s a little bit hard … since she learns more at school,” said Noe Ignacio. It was tough news learning his younger daughter would be home through the holidays instead of in the classroom.

“It was just for two hours, but it helped a lot,” he said. “But it’s for her safety, so we’re okay with it.”

His family is happy to be healthy and accepts that being at home instead of school may be the best option for now. Yuba and Sutter Counties call their community’s COVID situation dire with full hospitals and a climbing positivity rate. Yuba-Sutter currently has the highest rate in the state.

A new health advisory from the bi-county health officer now asks schools to go back to distance learning and names them as one common place to gather and potentially spread germs. YCUSD listened, and the county is thankful.

“It’s heartening to see they’re considering the science, considering the risk,” said Russ Brown, a spokesperson for Yuba County. “We understand that it can’t be an easy decision no matter what.”

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In YCUSD’s letter to parents, they acknowledged COVID problems of their own as staff members test positive.

“If they have to condense it down – and get a hold on it – so be it,” said Angela Duenez, a YCUSD parent. “But schools, I don’t feel like it’s a really big problem.”

Duenez understands closing certain businesses but still wants to see kids back on campus.

“We’ve shut in our kids from schools for so long,” she said. “I feel like you’re going to catch it, you’re going to catch it.”

At the moment, in YCUSD only students from preschool up to 5th grade were back in person with a hybrid model. The new plan isn’t to have kids in class until at least after winter break.

Sutter County Schools also made a similar announcement. A letter to families states the district won’t return to school until likely January 11th.

The Yuba-Sutter health advisory expires on December 28.

Heather Janssen