COVID-19: OC schools could reopen for in-person learning soon if numbers continue to improve

But not all school districts have testing rates as low as the rest of the county.
ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Orange County is on the right track. That was the message coming out of Thursday's COVID-19 briefing.

"Orange County is currently in a blended purple-red tier, and with our numbers trending in the right direction. It is on track to transition to the red tier on September 8th, 2020. Counties must remain at each tier for a minimum of 21 days," said Dr. Margaret Bredehoft with Orange County Health Care Agency.

For schools, this could mean permission to re-open in-person teaching by Sept. 22. That's if the county's positive cases per 100,000 and testing positivity percent remain within the threshold of the red tier for 14 consecutive days.

But not all school districts have testing rates as low as the rest of the county.

In parts of Anaheim and Santa Ana for example, the testing positivity percent is four times higher than the rest of Orange County.

"Schools are not forced to open. They're eligible to reopen with the caveat that they also provide options of either remote virtual learning, as well as a hybrid form. So this is not something that the county mandates to the school. Each school district has their right to make that choice when they feel ready," said Dr. Bredehoft.

OC leaders warn to keep moving forward, it is critical for all to comply with safety measures to prevent spread of the virus, especially over Labor Day weekend.

The county CEO says it's reassuring to know the OC coastline is not the only one open this holiday.

"So long as people are practicing their social distancing, good hygiene and responsible behavior, we do believe that we can have our beaches open during this Labor Day weekend and do it safely," said Frank Kim, CEO of Orange County.

Businesses will be able to implement the rules of the red tier as soon as the region hits it, which would include indoor activity with restrictions at places such as museums, zoos, aquariums, places of worship, movie theaters, restaurants and gyms.

First schools in OC reopen following county's removal from state's COVID-19 watch list
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Some Orange County schools opened their doors Wednesday for the first time in months following the county's removal from California's COVID-19 watch list.

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