California adopts new plan for reopening

Tier system to direct tightening, loosening of restrictions

By Owen Akel, Senior Reporter

Governor Gavin Newsom disclosed new guidelines for loosening COVID-19 restrictions in California on Aug. 28, which includes the conditional reopening of schools provided they meet certain requirements. 

Newsom’s plan classifies each county into one of four categories that are based on daily cases and testing positivity rate: Widespread, Substantial, Moderate and Minimal, with conditions ranging from worst to best, respectively.

“I think that the information is very encouraging and gives reason to hope we will restart in-person classes soon,” junior Gregory Kosmowski said in response to Newsom’s new plan.

San Francisco is listed in the “Substantial” category, meaning that there are generally 4–7 cases per 100 thousand people reported daily and a test positivity rate of 5–8%.

“It was good to see that San Francisco is in a tier that, if maintained for two weeks, may provide a path for our school to return to on-campus instruction,” President Ann Marie Krejcarek wrote in a letter to parents on Aug. 31.

Elementary schools must submit a safety waiver to the city and wait for approval before they can reopen.

“Starting mid-September, community learning hubs and K-6 schools with safety waivers can operate,” Mayor London Breed wrote in a Twitter post on Sept. 1. “High School students transmit similar to adults, so we are being more cautious as we approach their reopening.”

Newsom’s plan provides standards that schools must meet before reopening. Guidelines include wearing face masks, social distancing and a set course of action in the event that any campus member contracts COVID-19. 

“I feel like it would be safe to go back to school, but some necessary precautions need to be taken,” junior Peter Iliev said. “Student-to-student contact needs to be minimized.”

The plan mandates the installation of proficient ventilation systems, sanitation stations and various testing methods such as regular temperature readings and testing. 

“I hope that we have been able to convey the extent to which Convent & Stuart Hall has invested expertise, time and resources to ready our physical environment for in-person teaching,” Krejcarek wrote. 

The school upgraded its ventilation systems over the summer and intends to provide COVID-19 testing on Sept. 2, 8 and 14. Students who intend to return to in-person learning must first test negative.

“I think that the numbers show that our school is ready to reopen,” junior Gregory Kosmowski said. “Students are tired of distance learning and these new guidelines are a sign that it is time to transition back to normal life.”


This graphic groups counties into four tiers based on the number of cases and testing positivity rate, with San Francisco being in the “Substantial” tier with 9.8 new cases per 100,000 people and a 3.4% COVID-19 testing positivity rate. California implemented the plan on Aug. 31 and will review data weekly. (Source: