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11/17/20 TK-5 Update: Marin Moves to Red Tier and Guidance for Holiday Travel and Gatherings
Posted 11/17/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community, 

Our elementary schools are full of energy and excitement again as students have returned to our classrooms! Last week we welcomed back grades TK-2 and this week students in grades 3-5. It's been wonderful to see everyone and I am grateful to our teachers and staff for the monumental work they’re doing!

Move to the Red Tier
Marin County has moved to Tier 2 (Red – Substantial) as cases of COVID-19 have increased. The move to the red tier does not impact our reentry plans; we will continue to keep our elementary schools open. As we have seen cases surge across the country, it is not surprising that our region would also experience an increase. This may cause some to question why we would continue to bring our students back to school. We know more now than we did last spring about how to best mitigate risks and feel we have procedures in place to safely allow students to learn at school. I want to thank our SRCS community for embracing and abiding by our health and safety protocols and procedures so we can work together to prevent widespread COVID-19 transmission in our schools. 

I recognize that we are only just over a week into it, but I am happy to share that we have had no transmission among students, teachers or staff. The Marin County Office of Education also recently released updated data that shows that no cases of COVID-19 infection have occurred within school settings. A new county-wide online dashboard features an interactive map that indicates school COVID-19 activity and is updated weekly. All this to say, we continue to monitor the data very closely as we move forward in collaboration with Marin Health and Human Services and MCOE. Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin’s Deputy Public Health Officer, also shared the following in their news release yesterday: “It’s important to note that most counties across the state that did not reopen schools are seeing even faster rises in cases, and in people of all ages. We’ve done a lot of work together to make sure that schools can reopen safely, and it’s paying off.”

Guidance for Holiday Travel and Gatherings
As a District, we have taken many precautions to protect our students and staff. But we can't do it alone. As we approach this holiday season, we need you to partner with us to keep every student, teacher and staff member healthy. Bay Area public health officers have issued joint recommendations for staying safe during the holidays. You can find the details of the guidance and ideas for safe celebrations here, which emphasize the following: 

  • Travel and gathering indoors with extended family and friends increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home with members of your immediate family or household is the best way to protect yourself and others. 

  • In-person gatherings should be small, short, stable (no more than three households over an extended period) and outdoors. 

  • Nonessential travel, including holiday travel, is not recommended. Travel outside the Bay Area will increase chances of infection and potentially spread the virus. For those who are traveling, there are tips to help avoid catching COVID-19 or spreading it to fellow travelers. Those traveling outside the Bay Area are strongly recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return if activities while traveling created higher risk of getting COVID-19.

Relatedly, the California Department of Public Health has a Guide for Private Gatherings and a Travel Advisory and the CDC has guidance on assessing your family’s risk in various activities and factors to consider for holiday celebrations. We urge you to carefully review this local and state information and adhere to the recommendations. The commitment your family makes to following the guidance will directly impact our ability to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, to stay healthy and to keep our classrooms open for learning. In addition to the above, here are the key ways you can do your part every day: wear a face covering; practice social distancing; and wash your hands frequently.

Thank you all for your continued support. These are challenges for all of us, but we feel confident about the path forward for SRCS and are excited to have our elementary students back!


Jim Hogeboom