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Santa Clara County schools may not reopen for in-person instruction this fall, officials said Tuesday.

In an afternoon press conference, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said that the county wants “all students and teachers to return to school as soon as possible” but that officials have yet to decide whether — or how much — that involves the classroom.

“Whether schools can reopen for in-person instruction depends on the containment of COVID-19 in the months to come … We’re monitoring a number of factors,” Cody said.

Bay Area schools began closing down when the pandemic struck in mid-March. Just a few weeks later, the six counties said they’d follow the state’s recommendation to remain shut for the rest of the year — leaving teachers, students and parents scrambling to adjust to online learning.

State guidance released earlier this month calls for schools to offer in-person learning to the extent that they can this fall, depending on local orders. By and large, that means a piecemeal approach for districts including across the Bay Area.

For its part, Santa Clara County has called on local districts to consider various scenarios for the year, including in-person instruction, remote learning or a hybrid model. But officials didn’t directly answer when districts or parents should expect more information about a potential first day of school: Such plans are “not a guarantee that conditions will allow us to reopen in person,” said Mary Ann Dewan, county superintendent.

If brick-and-mortar schools do welcome students this fall, the county expects different age groups to abide by different rules, according to new guidance.

Elementary school students, for example, would be taught in stable groups, while high schoolers would be required to wear face coverings all the time and follow more stringent social distancing guidelines. Temperature checks would not be required.

“The health and safety of students and staff and community remain top of mind,” Dewan said. “Schools will need to adhere to the requirements and study the guidance.”

Similar protocols have been developed in San Mateo County, where school and health officials tentatively plan to stagger students, mandate face coverings and limiting the number of students within classroooms. The Oakland Unified School District is meanwhile considering both entirely remote and hybrid models, with a decision slated for no later than July 10.

Decisions surrounding high school sports in Santa Clara County are forthcoming, Cody said.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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Oakland elementary school reopening plan includes online assessment, small group instruction

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News obtained a copy Friday of the reopening plans for Oakland elementary schools called "Strong Start for Every Student."

While the fall semester is scheduled to being on August 10, teachers will return on August 5 for prep time, giving them only a few days to get ready.

RELATED: San Francisco health officials release school reopening guidelines amid COVID-19 pandemic

For now, the plan is to begin online. For the first two weeks, teachers will have Zoom sessions with their students and parents to inform them of the semester's expectations. Each family gets about 45 minutes.

During those two weeks teachers will assess their students while they also work on homework.

On week three, teachers will determine where students stand academically. From there, they will be put in groups which the district has determined is the most effective way to teach students during this pandemic.

Small group instruction will begin on week four. Again, the recommendation is to do that online.

The expectation is that schools will take a hybrid approach to teaching after those four weeks, but what that will look like has yet to be determined.

Oakland Unified is expected to release the full plan at a news conference later Friday evening.

Lyanne Melendez will have a full report starting at 4 p.m. on ABC7 News.

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