ALAMEDA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Health officials in Alameda County on Thursday said that the county’s recent move to the red tier will allow elementary schools to reopen on October 13, if qualified.

Alameda County health officials issued a release stating that as California allows schools to open for in-person learning in counties at the red tier, as of October 13, schools teaching students between kindergarten and sixth grad that complete a COVID-19 health and safety reopening plan will be permitted to open.

Officials noted that the decision and timing of when to open rests with each school and school district, and that schools would not be required to open if not ready.

Elementary schools that are moving towards reopening must post their reopening plans on their school or school district website and submit their plan to the Alameda County Office of Education. Schools planning to open must also notify the Alameda County Health officials of their decision and provide the website link to their plan.

Officials also said that Alameda County will consider permitting middle and high school students to return to in-person education in 4 to 12 weeks depending on local COVID conditions and the impact of elementary school re-opening on transmission.

Officials released a list of activities and businesses that would be allowed resume as of October 9:

  • Hotels and lodging for tourism (fitness centers and indoor pools restricted)
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums (indoors at 25% capacity or less)
  • Personal care services (indoor business with modifications; services requiring removal of face covering prohibited)
  • Libraries (at 25% capacity or less)
  • Gyms and fitness centers (indoors at 10% capacity or less; restrictions on aerobic exercise and classes)
  • Outdoor film production (per local guidance)

The press release also outlined details about a new metric that state officials were introducing to its COVID risk assessment system.

On September 30, California announced its new COVID-19 health equity metric which requires counties to ensure that the testing positivity rates in their most disadvantaged neighborhoods are within the same range as the county’s overall test positivity rate.

The new metric is in addition to the overall testing positivity rate and case rate that determine what tier a county has reached within the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The metric is set to go into effect on October 6.

“COVID-19 has highlighted longstanding systemic inequities and their impact on the overall health and life expectancy,” the release read. “We share the State’s commitment to reducing disparities, and have focused on health equity
from the outset of our response. That is why Alameda County has already acted to better serve our Latinx, Black and African American, and Pacific Islander communities, who are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.