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County Education Office Releases Reopening Guide
Escalon Unified School District was one of the 14 districts in San Joaquin County working cooperatively on a guidance plan for the safe reopening of schools for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Marg Jackson/The Times

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) this past week announced the release of new guidance for local schools as they prepare to enter the 2020-2021 academic year. The guidance was developed in close collaboration with the county’s 14 school district superintendents and approved by the San Joaquin County Public Health Officer. The SJCOE document – 2020-2021 School Year Planning: A Guide to Address the Challenges of COVID-19 – is intended to be used as a tool for schools and districts to reopen while minimizing health risks as they develop and implement their own plans for the new school year.

“We are working on our reopening plan which aligns with the county plan and follows the California Department of Public Health Guidelines,” noted Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa. “We plan on finalizing that by the beginning of July.”

Meanwhile, Costa said the county public health department did release guidelines for athletic conditioning, so teams will be able to start conditioning.

“Since school districts in San Joaquin County made the difficult decision to close campuses in March to help slow the spread of COVID-19, educators have been working to provide for the immediate needs of their students while looking ahead to reopening campuses. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening schools. This new guidance allows school districts, charter schools, private schools, and SJCOE programs to take the next step toward meeting the challenge of providing a quality education to students in a way that is safe for students, staff, families, and the community,” explained San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas. “Educational leaders engaging with their school communities will be able to use these guidelines as they finalize and implement plans that take into consideration the needs of their students and families.”

The SJCOE recommendations align with the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Schools and School-Based Programs. The San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, Dr. Maggie Park, updated the local Stay-At-Home Order that allowed for the reopening of schools as of June 12.

The complete 2020-2021 School Year Planning: A Guide to Address the Challenges of COVID-19 can be found on the SJCOE website at

San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) provides educational leadership, resources, and services to support schools throughout the county. With its highly regarded programs, innovative staff, and community partnerships, SJCOE ensures that every student in San Joaquin County has the opportunity of a quality education. For more information, visit