WATCH: California Schools Cannot Open Classrooms Until Off Watch List

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday that public and private schools in San Diego County and more than 30 other counties on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list will not be allowed to begin in-classroom learning until the county has been off the state's watch list for at least two weeks.

Gov. Newsom said schools that don't meet that requirement would have to start the fall school year with distance learning. Newsom said he knows that most parents want to see their children in school and he says if Californians follow the health orders to wear a face covering and socially distance, the curve will begin to flatten and school classrooms will be able to open.


Though some of California's schools will make that grade for in-person classes this fall, Newsom outlined when schools may be required to go back to distance learning:

  • A classroom goes to distance learning if there is a confirmed case
  • A school goes to distance learning if multiple classrooms have cases or more than 5% of a school is positive
  • A district goes to distance learning if 25% of a district's schools are closed within two weeks

The governor added that the state's guidance to reopen schools would depend on:

  • Safe in-person school based on local health data
  • Mask requirements
  • Physical distancing and other adaptations
  • Regular testing and dedicated contact tracing
  • Rigorous distance learning

Newsom's announcement comes as the federal government pushes for states to fully reopen schools in the fall -- even as COVID-19 cases surge in most states.


Record Number of New Cases Reported Friday in San Diego County

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Two new outbreaks were identified on July 16, both in restaurants.
  • In the past seven days, 13 community outbreaks were identified.
  • The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
  • A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households. 


  • 9,224 tests were reported to the County July 17 and 7% were positive new cases.
  • The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive tests is 6.1%. Target is less than 8%.
  • The 7-day, daily average of tests is 8,383.


  • A record 634 new cases were reported in San Diego County for a total of 22,489.
  • 2,154 or 9.6% of cases have required hospitalization.
  • 562 or 2.5% of all cases and 26.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.


  • Seven more COVID-19 deaths were reported on July 17, and the region’s total is now 472.
  • Three women and four men died between July 7 and July 15.
  • Their ages ranged from early 50s to mid-90s.
  • All had existing chronic conditions.

(Photo credit Governor's Office)

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