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El Dorado County Schools Could Think About Reopening, If They Stay Off Watch List

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) - Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that any counties on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list would have to begin the school year with distance learning until they've successfully been off the list for two weeks.

One county in the greater Sacramento area is not on the state's radar, yet. But El Dorado County officials believe it's inevitable, and just a matter of when.

At this point, El Dorado County is a rare case among most Northern California counties and could send kids back to school in person if nothing changes to put them on the state's radar.

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For parents, there are feelings of hope and uncertainty - as many want that in-person instruction for their children.

"I want to be able to be safe, but I do think we need to go about our business," Andrea Vanry, an El Dorado County parent said.

Vanry is a small business owner who has been watching the numbers climb in the county and isn't so sure reopening schools will happen.

READ: Classroom Instruction Planned In Some Parts Of California

"We're just getting closer and closer," she said. "I watch it on an hourly basis to see what could happen so I can keep my clients informed."

If the county ends up on the watch list before school starts in August, they, too, would have to start from a distance - much like the more than thirty other counties around the state. Newsom's latest direction makes it mandatory for them to distance learn for both student and staff protection.

"We cannot deny the fact that we have hundreds of thousands of adults that are responsible for taking care of kids as well," Newsom said in a Friday press conference. "Learning remains non-negotiable but neither is the safety of all of our cohorts."

Though, parents like Amber Spence heard the announcement as hope.

"A very big relief," Spence said. "They miss their teachers. They miss the playground. They miss everything."

Spence said she's comfortable sending her kids back to class.

"If they take proper precautions, even just washing their hands," Spence said. "I think they would be okay."

But even under the new guidance, if El Dorado County schools can and do reopen – they could still get shut down again. If 5% of one school tests positive, that school would close. If 25% of the district gets the virus, that entire district would have to shut down.

ALSO: Gov. Newsom Mandates Schools In Counties On California's Watch List To Start Year With Distance Learning

Though Spence hopes it wouldn't have to be for very long.

"I'm hoping it's a two-week thing and not to shut down for good," Spence said.

CBS13 reached out to the El Dorado County Office of Education several times on Friday to see what plans districts may be leaning toward but never heard back by the time this report was filed.

Though, the county health department said they've been working with EDCOE, and at this time, no decision on school reopening has been made.

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