Merced County Office of Education

COVID-19 County Resources

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Commu​nity R​​esources

We know that the COVID-19 crisis is difficult and overwhelming. During this time, learning is going to look different in eac​h household – and that’s okay. These resources are here not only to help facilitate learning at home, but to offer you and your family as much support as possible. If you need help, please contact your school district.​​​​​

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Reopening Schools

On July 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that if a county has been on the State Monitoring List within the prior 14 days, a school must conduct distance learning only, until the county has been off the monitoring list for at least 14 days. ​​


Effective August 31, 2020, the State of California revised the criteria for restrictions on activities, including the opening of schools. We are now following a color-coded, tiered system based on two indicators: rate of new cases and positivity rate. 

Schools in the Widespread (purple) tier are not permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for Transitional Kindergarten through 6th grade. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Substantial (red) tier for at least two weeks.

As of November 17th, 2020, ​Merced County is in the Purple Tier of the State Monitoring List.​



County Risk Level
Adjusted Cases
Positivity Rate

WIDESPREAD (Purple)
Many non-essential indoor business operations are closed​
​MORE THAN 7
Daily new cases (per 100k)
​MORE THAN 8%
Positive tests

SUBSTANTIAL (Red)
Some non-essential indoor business operations are closed
​4 – 7
Daily new cases (per 100k)
​5 – 8%
Positive tests

MODERATE (Orange)
Some indoor business operations are open with modifications
​1 – 3.9
Daily new cases (per 100k)
​2 – 4.9%
Positive tests

​MINIMAL (Yellow)
Most indoor business operations are open with modifications​​
​LESS THAN 1
Daily new cases (per 100k)
​LESS THAN 2%
Positive tests


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Frequently Asked​​ Questions


What tier is Merced County i​​n?

On Monday, Nov. 16, Gov. Newsom announced that Merced, along with several other counties, will move back to the most restrictive Purple Tier effective Tuesday, Nov. 17.​

Will schools have t​​o​​ close again if the county moves back into the widespread/purple tier?

​No. School sites that reopen for in-person instruction while Merced County is in the Red Tier would not have to close should Merced County revert back to the Purple Tier. However, a school site that has yet to reopen for in-person instruction at the time the county reverts back into the Purple Tier would be required to wait until the county goes back into the Red Tier for two weeks to reopen.
If a school was in the process of implementing a phased re-opening plan (e.g., grades TK through 2 are open for in-person instruction with set plans to phase in grades 3 through 6) while the county was in the Red Tier, the school site may continue their phased re-opening if the county reverts back to the Purple Tier.
NOTE: This is only applicable to individual school sites only. If a school district has a phased reopening of its schools, the schools in that school district that did not open for in person instruction may not reopen until the county is back in the Red Tier for two weeks.

Under w​​​​hat circumstances would a classroom, school or school district be required to close?

While schools that have reopened for in-person learning under the red tier will NOT be required to close if the county moves back into the purple tier, schools must close a classroom, school or an entire school district based on the following criteria: A classroom must be closed when there is one positive case in a classroom; A school must close if there are multiple classes or 5% of the student/staff have confirmed cases; An entire school district must be closed when 25% of the schools within the district has closed due to COVID-19. (See graphic below).

Does MCOE oversee the re-opening of schools​ in Merced County?

No. Each of Merced’s school districts is responsible for developing and implementing its own reopening plan. Schools carefully consider the safety of staff and students and will announce specific plans that meet their varied and individualized needs. Some school districts may elect to phase-in in-person instruction over time. Schools that choose to reopen must follow the California Department of Public Health Guidance for re-opening schools that is available HERE​. (See info graphic below).

Once a school starts in distance learning, is ​​​it required to remain that way for the entire quarter, semester?

No.  Education Code section 43504 specifies that schools should “offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.”  However, in-person instruction should be conducted only if the conditions are safe for both students and staff.  If a school starts in distance learning, school and public health officials should collaborate to prepare to reopen for in-person instruction as soon as practicable.

How will I know when my chi​​ld’s school plans to reo​pen?

School or school districts will communicate directly with families through their normal communication channels.​


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