August 28, 2020

Covid cases are up and down in different areas of the state, pushing counties on and off the state’s coronavirus monitoring list. On Friday, the monitoring list was replaced by a new color-coded ranking system announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom. But the situation for schools remains essentially unchanged. Districts in counties on the Tier 1 list, colored purple, must continue to offer instruction via distance learning unless they get a waiver for in-person K-6 instruction. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the red Tier 2 for at least two weeks.

San Diego County is one of the counties on the verge of being able to reopen schools, after being off the monitoring list for two weeks. We check in with county superintendent Paul Gothold on what is happening in the 42 districts in his county.

And we explore the opposite challenges facing Mendocino County, with 12 districts and about 12,000 students. Due to a data mixup, the county was retroactively put on the state’s monitoring list (now Tier 1 or purple counties). We speak with county superintendent Michelle Hutchins about how some small rural schools that had already reopened were thrown into distance learning for weeks if not months.

Note: This podcast was recorded just before Gov. Newsom announced the new color-coded ranking system.

Also, we turn to Josh Weiss, a technology specialist with Stanford’s Graduate School of Education to weigh in on the contentious issue of whether it’s a good idea to require students to keep their video cameras off during live instruction.

For background to this podcast, check out the following: