Students have been attending private schools in Santa Cruz County for some time.
Students have been learning in person at many private schools in Santa Cruz County amid the pandemic. Now, public schools are announcing reopening plans.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
COVID K-12

Santa Cruz County school districts — all 10 — announce timelines for returns to some in-person learning

The 10 school districts have mapped out phased returns to at least part-time in-person learning for elementary school students beginning in March. Find out when your district plans to start here.

Scotts Valley Unified School District will return its youngest students to part-time in-person learning during the first week of March, leading off a wave of elementary school reopenings across Santa Cruz County.

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provided Lookout with a timeline that offers the first comprehensive breakdown of when all 10 public school districts plan to start their phased returns to classrooms under hybrid in-person and remote-learning models.

While schedules vary across each district, the school reopenings mark the first time in a year that all students in those classes will be able to return to in-person learning at least some of the time — typically, for a period of several hours on two days each week.

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First, Scotts Valley Unified plans to return its transitional kinder and kindergarten students to classrooms on March 3, followed by first through fifth grades on a rolling basis through March 23.

Eight other districts will follow suit, starting their phased reopenings at various points throughout March. Pajaro Valley Unified, the county’s largest district, is plotting the slowest course — waiting until April 5 to return its youngest students to classrooms.

Superintendents from all local districts came together Feb. 12 to announce plans to start to reopen schools for elementary students in March and April. Those plans took shape quickly after county education officials formed a vaccination partnership with Dignity Health, side-stepping the county government’s limited supply and continued prioritization based on age.

More than 4,500 teachers and support staff — 75% of the total — had received their first dose of vaccine as of Thursday, according to Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Faris Sabbah.

Families that wish to continue learning remotely are able to do so.

Reopening secondary schools is barred by state policy until the county progresses to the red tier of California’s Blueprint for Safer Economy — a prospect that appears increasingly likely as COVID-19 case rates have plummeted.

Use the searchable database below to see when each school district plans to return different grades to some form of in-person learning:

If you’re having difficulties with the table, click here.