Since our March 9 update, the guidance from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) and the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) regarding school closures remains unchanged. SCCPHD currently is not recommending closing schools, below is some additional context for our community.
Why aren’t schools being closed since COVID-19 appears to be spreading?
Santa Clara County Public Health Department is working closely with SCCOE to provide guidance to districts and schools. Broadly closing schools is a decision that is not taken lightly and is a last resort as it causes significant community disruption. The most important reason we are not recommending school closures is because children are at low risk for COVID-19.
Another very important reason we’re not closing schools right now is because of how much it disrupts society. Not every family or parent has the time off or the financial security to stay home from work with their child. Many families also rely on schools and staff for basic needs for their children, including regular meals, health care and child care. If schools shut down, vulnerable families will experience the greatest burden and suffer negative impacts.
Potential workforce shortages due to closed schools may blunt our health care system’s response to COVID-19. Additionally, there may be an increase in exposure for the most vulnerable people in our community – older individuals as they may be caring for children at home.
We recognize that some children have underlying health conditions, such as weakened immune systems, that put them at higher risk. Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their children should stay home from school.
Currently, if a staff member or student in a specific school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Public Health Department will work with individual schools, school districts and the County Office of Education, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, whether closure of that school is warranted.
(Translations will be posted when available.)