State public health officials apparently don’t have a plan to close down schools if COVID cases impact classrooms as the Delta variant spreads. 

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Gov. Gavin Newsom and state public health officials haven’t said anything about potential contingency plans if schools become a hotspot for virus transmission in the face of the Delta variant.

They apparently haven’t formed contingency plans with local officials, either.

At a Tuesday news conference, Orange County Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, said state officials are focused on getting kids back into classrooms this school year.

“I don’t have an answer for that question,” Chinsio-Kwong said. “I know that the state is really working hard to make sure kids stay in school.” 

She also said local public health officials will be looking to see how school districts deal with outbreaks to learn how to best respond to the situation. 

“That will have to be a case by case basis,” Chinsio-Kwong said. “There’s so many things that we can do to space kids out and keep them actively learning.”


Local public health experts are concerned about kids returning to classrooms.

“The honest answer is we don’t know how it’s going to play out because we’re dealing with a highly transmissible variant,” said UC Irvine biostatistician Vladimir Minin on Voice of OC’s Monday virtual COVID town hall.

Minin noted that most of the tactics and data schools are now relying on were developed before the highly contagious Delta variant hit.

His colleague, UCI epidemiologist Sanghyuk Shin, echoed Minin’s concerns. 

“What we’re seeing is in the places where schools have opened up in the presence of Delta, they had to close down very quickly. We’ve seen that in Mississippi,” Shin said during the town hall. “Within just a week of school opening up, 5 outbreaks at 5 different schools — they had to close down and go back to remote learning.” 

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