OUSD to begin school year with only distance learning

Ojai Unified School District will join all Ventura County schools to begin the new school year with distance-only learning, after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new school-opening guidelines Friday, July 17.

According to the new state guidance, schools cannot reopen their campuses until the county in which they are located has been off the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Ventura County is one of 32 California counties currently on the list. The guidance applies to both public and private schools.


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Ojai Unified School District was scheduled to have a soft reopening Aug. 19 with one option of a combination of in-person and distance learning. It is the only public school district in Ventura County currently holding in-person summer school classes, with the blessing of Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin.

 "Although we were poised to reopen our schools with a modified schedule and safety measures in place, as the governor’s new mandate makes clear, we will need to plan for a distance-learning only model until such time as we can implement our original hybrid return plan," OUSD Superintendent Tiffany Morse said in a written statement. "As I shared last night in an update to OUSD parents and staff, we will be bringing this discussion to our regularly scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, July 22, with an emphasis on the required-for-now return to distance learning."

The state guidance can be viewed at:

 Ventura County is on the state watch list because it is falling below the threshold set by the governor for postivity rate of COVID-19 among those tested and rate of hospitalization. Ventura County's attainment in each of the governor's criteria can be viewed at:

Dave Schermer, director of communications for the Ventura County Office of Education, sent out a press release with the announcement Friday afternoon, listing all Ventura County public school districts, including Ventura County charter schools, whose leaders have acknowledged the new circumstances.

On Thursday, the Ventura County Office of Education had sent a press release stating that all the public schools in Ventura County — except for Ojai Unified, Ventura Unified, Moorpark Unified, and Mesa Union — had decided to start the new school year using solely distance learning, without bringing students back onto campus.

Thursday evening, Superintendent Morse had sent a letter to parents and staff saying the school board would take up the issue at its July 22 meeting.

The decision was made by the governor Friday for the Ojai school board and the other three Ventura County public school districts that on Thursday were still evaluating their plans.

“We appreciate this confirmation from the governor that bringing students back to campus in our current environment is too great of a risk to take,” said Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth in a written statement. “We know that distance learning can never fully substitute for the exchange of knowledge and social support that takes place in schools, but it is the most prudent way for us to provide education while the coronavirus continues to surge in Ventura County.”

Ventura County school districts and charter schools will be providing additional details about their plans for the new school year to their communities. A list of school district websites is available at A list of local charter school websites is available at:

For the latest updates on the impact of the coronavirus on Ventura County public schools, including distance learning resources and information about meal service and child care, visit the Ventura County Office of Education website at


The OUSD school board will meet via teleconference on Wednesday, July 22, at 5:30 pm.
Those who would like to submit a public comment to be heard at the board meeting, may do so at
You can also watch the board meeting at





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