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Orange County Schools Eligible for In-Person Instruction
Posted 9/21/20

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These certainly are challenging times as we continue to navigate this pandemic that affects us all. We truly appreciate everyone’s efforts to manage this crisis and continue to educate and support our students.

Orange County Schools are Eligible for In-Person Instruction

As of tomorrow, Orange County will reach a milestone that allows all schools to reopen for in-person instruction. This is based on the 4-Tier state system in which Orange County has continued to reduce the new case rate and positivity rate to qualify for eligibility. Orange County’s average is now 4.7 per 100,000 population for new cases and 3.9% for the positivity rate. 

Costa Mesa and Newport Beach Below County Averages

Locally, the cities of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach fall below the county averages on both new case rate and positivity rate measures. For Costa Mesa the new case and positivity rates are 2.1 and 1.6% and for Newport Beach 1.47 and 1.5%. However, with this encouraging news we must remain vigilant in following the health and safety measures and take COVID-19 tests when needed (accessible through your healthcare provider or county test sites - OC Health Care Agency COVID-19 Testing Sites). Through our collective efforts, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach have continued to trend in the right direction and remain at lower than county average levels. 

Preparations for Level 2 - Hybrid In-Person Instruction on Staggered Timeline


Elementary Teachers (TK-6) and Special Education SDC Teachers (TK-12) ONLY 

On September 24, 25, and 28 teachers will continue to provide instruction in the morning, however, the afternoon on these three days will be designated to allow teachers to prepare for Level 2 -  in-person instruction. Schools will be in contact to provide specific details regarding instruction on these dates.


In July we committed to set a reopening date for NMUSD after the county became eligible to reopen in-person instruction. Earlier this month, in anticipation of all OC schools becoming eligible to reopen, we announced staggered start dates for transition to Level 2 - Hybrid in-person instruction: September 29 (TK-2 grade and Special Education SDC TK-12); October 1 (3-6 grade); and October 12 (7-12 grade). For many, this news is highly welcomed, while others have reservations to transition to hybrid in-person instruction. However, the direction from our state has been to return to in-person instruction when individual counties become eligible. 

Returning students to Level 2 - hybrid in-person instruction when safe has been our goal. We continue to implement procedures and protocols in alignment with health and safety guidelines from the California Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is critical that everyone support the District and state requirements such as face coverings, distancing, washing hands, screening and staying home when ill. We must collectively provide clear and consistent direction to students to follow the new rules and procedures for the health of themselves and others.

Our District also continues to negotiate and meet regularly with both of our employee associations, Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers (NMFT) and Classified School Employees Association (CSEA), on the transition to reopening, and supporting our employees in their work.

What triggers school closures once we reopen?

Based on current state rules, once our schools open, school or District closures will be based on circumstances of individual school and District COVID-19 cases, no longer tied to the 4-Tier state system. For more information on the criteria for school closures see the NMUSD School Reopening Plan (page 19).

School Specific Information 

Specific information to assist you and your child in the transition to Level 2 - hybrid In-person instruction, will come directly from your child’s school prior to the start of Level 2 - hybrid In-person instruction. This information will include dropoff and pickup instructions, schedules and other important safety precautions. General Districtwide information and resources are available on the School Reopening webpage

Finally, whether as a parent/guardian, teacher or staff member, we must provide reassurances to students and set clear expectations to follow the new procedures at school. I know students can and will rise to our expectations with support and encouragement from all of us.

Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we transition to hybrid in-person instruction.