TIBURON (KPIX 5) — Marin County will start accepting waiver applications Friday for elementary schools looking to reopen for in-person learning, even as many teachers continue to resist the idea.
There has been a strong push by a group of vocal North Bay parents who are doing everything to make their case to reopen schools safely.
It’s been almost a month since Governor Newsom made the announcement about closing schools, but state officials only updated state waiver guidelines last week.
“There’s been tremendous frustration trying to find a clear answer on what the waiver process is,” said Chelsea Schlunt.
Parents launched a website called ReopenMarinSchools.com which features links to sign and share petitions and to easily contact local officials who have a large say in giving the green light.
“The lack of transparency around specifically, ‘This is the date that we should expect it. Here are the rules that you have to follow. This is what needs to be included in the application,'” said Stephanie Alberti, a parent who has two children in the Reed Union School DIstrict.
If infections are less than 200 cases per 100,000 in population, local health departments can consider waivers.
Marin County Health Director Dr. Matt Willis says priority will be given to schools with outdoor space.
“We are seeing improvements in our case numbers. We saw a rapid increase in June, and if we see a rapid decrease then we could come off the list sooner,” said Willis.
“Safety is a precondition. It’s not an aspirational goal we shoot for once schools are open,” said San Rafael public school teacher Morgan Agnew.
Teachers across the Bay Area and the nation have rallied against reopening schools for in-person learning, including in Marin County.
“When they tell us what it’s like to educate their students at home on their own we believe them. We need them to believe us when we share our concerns about whether it’s safe or not to return to schools,” said Agnew.
“There is risk in everything that happens in our world and if we return to schools when there’s zero risk of Covid we are never going back to schools,” said Schlunt.
Marin County health officials will begin reviewing applications next week. The earliest elementary schools could reopen would be September 8th in Marin County.
Santa Clara and Sonoma counties have already opened their waiver application processes online.