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Plumas remains in the orange; if it moves to a more restrictive tier what happens to schools?

Plumas County will remain in the orange tier again this week, but that could change next week based on the increasing number of positive COVID cases reported during the past few weeks. If the county is placed in the red or purple tier, there will be more restrictions for local businesses, offices and churches; but what does it mean for local schools?

For Plumas Unified School District, it means no changes for children attending school as they have been, but it does mean that more staff testing would be recommended.

Superintendent Terry Oestreich sent a memo to staff yesterday that included guidance provided by Public Health Director Andrew Woodruff relating to schools and tier assignments.

“If Plumas County moves to a more restrictive tier, schools are not required to implement further mitigations or restrictions,” Woodruff said. “Schools are always free to choose to be more restrictive than the guidance. If a school chooses to operate more strictly than the guidance, Public Health will be supportive of that choice.”

Woodruff added that if there is a case or cases among teachers, students or staff, Public Health would assist the schools in deciding whether a temporary closure of a classroom, campus or district would be advisable.

Oestreich said that the district is working with the three local hospitals to arrange for staff testing. As of now, hospitals are billing individual insurance plans, but that may change. “We are close to completing the contract with Plumas District Hospital, which will accommodate direct billing to the district,” Oestreich said. “We may pursue contracts with the other hospitals, but they are currently billing individual insurance.”

The tier changes and how they could impact local schools will be discussed further during the Nov. 18 school board meeting.

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