Kern County public schools will remain open at this time, the Kern County Superintendent of Schools announced Friday.
Administrators from Kern County’s 47 school districts met Friday to discuss the potential for school closures in the community. Because there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kern County and no evidence of community-wide transmission — and the fact that schools are an essential service, providing education, meals, security and resources for children and families — there was consensus that Kern County schools will remain open at this time.
The county serves 190,000 students, 73 percent of which receive free and reduced meals and extra support resources. Many Kern County students do not have access to the same resources as more affluent counties.
“Closing schools would cause huge impacts to the entire community and put our most vulnerable populations at risk, so the decision to close schools should not be taken lightly,” said Kern County Superintendent of Schools Mary C. Barlow. “Our students, families and community are relying on us to stay open as long as it is safely possible in order to receive essential services such as meals, health and mental health services and child care. Thousands of working parents in Kern County may not have provisions for child care and other services for their children outside of school.”
County school districts will continue to operate under guidance released on March 7, 2020 by the California Department of Education and California Department of Public Health.
KCSOS is recommending that districts follow the guidelines from California Department of Public Health on social distancing, canceling non-essential meetings and field trips.
Local educators are developing contingency plans that will allow for continuity of essential school-related services like meals, childcare and equitable alternate forms of instruction if school closures are deemed necessary.
On Thursday, Cal State Bakersfield announced it was moving all classes to an "alternative delivery" method, such as online classes, beginning March 27, for the remainder of the spring semester, while Bakersfield College began the first wave of classes moving online. Both campuses will remain open.