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Statement from Superintendent of Schools L. K. Monroe on the Return To School from Winter Break

December 31, 2021

Dear Alameda County Families and Communities,

As we return to school amid growing COVID-19 cases across the county, we know this is an anxious time for our educational communities.

We want to reassure you that we are as committed as ever to healthy school environments for our students and our staff, and that our districts and schools have been working incredibly hard, many of them giving up time during their own break with family and friends, to ensure the safest possible return to classrooms.

The State has made an investment in our students by providing millions of at-home tests to be distributed by district and schools. ACOE is receiving more than 135,000 tests and disseminating them to districts and charter schools. Some of our schools have already been able to distribute these at-home tests, while for others, the tests will be coming in the next few days, as weather issues delayed some of the shipment.

It’s now all hands on deck to get these out to our districts and in the hands of students and families as soon as possible. We very much appreciate our districts and schools being at the ready to receive them and calling back staff, during this usual time of rest and rejuvenation, to serve their communities.

We continue to work closely with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Education and the Governor’s Office as circumstances around the pandemic continue to shift and change.

What will not change are the best practices we all know by now that remain critically important when sending children to school to provide layers of protection - masking, vaccinations, booster shots for those eligible, testing and remaining home when sick to prevent further spread.

Despite the latest surge, we know that we have made great progress together since the school year began.

  • Approximately 50 percent of our children in the 5-11 age group in Alameda County have been vaccinated, many of them at clinics that have been hosted at our school sites. If your child has not yet been vaccinated, please schedule them for one as soon as possible.
  • Our vaccination rates for education staff are among the highest in the state and we strongly encourage everyone to get their booster.
  • We continue to gather our educational leaders together regularly to hear the latest information directly from public health.
  • Collectively, our districts have provided millions of on-site tests to their communities, improved their ventilation systems, and we have trained our COVID liaisons, school nurses and staff to apply protocols in our schools to keep them open for in-person learning.
  • And our students are able to participate in the extra-curricular activities that enrich their educational experience.

The State has reiterated its commitment to in-person learning and we concur, with measures in place to ensure that we are doing so safely.

We understand this is a time of uncertainty and concern. As the pandemic continues to evolve, we will continue to work through this together to keep our students, families, and staff safe.

We appreciate your support, partnership, and understanding, and will continue to keep you updated.

Happy New Year to all!

Signature: L Karen Monroe
L. K. Monroe
Alameda County Superintendent of Schools