Outside Creek School in Tulare County staying open by operating as day camp

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At Outside Creek Elementary in Tulare County, school is technically not in session. It's now considered a day camp.

That's the change that the Tulare Public Health Department says is allowing the K-8 campus to stay open to 70 kids. Under state guidance, day camps can be open.

"It very much is operating similarly like a school would with small cohorts and with extra precautions put in place," said Carrie Monteiro, spokesperson for Tulare County Health & Human Services. "They do have measures in place of face masks, increasing disinfecting and teaching the student's infection control measures."

Last week, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux visited the campus to determine whether it needed to be shut down.

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"People should feel comfortable with the fact that we went in, took a look and made sure they were following the criteria to reduce those levels of exposure," Boudreaux said.

Sheriff Boudreaux says since his visit, classroom sizes have further been reduced to 10 children per room.

"They were taking some pretty extreme measures. Every teacher had a face shield. Every student had a face mask," said Boudreaux. "I think in this case, with a little flexibility, we were able to make a positive outcome."

Tulare County Public Health says they don't have any regulatory authority or oversight of day camps, and there's currently no agency that does.

However, if there's an outbreak of three or more people from different households at the campus, the Public Health Department can step in and close the facility down.

"We are concerned with day camp operations and schools turning into day camp operations," said Monteiro. "We discourage any effort to congregate children from multiple households, as that action proves and has posed a significant risk of the spread of COVID-19."

ABC30 reached out to the administration at Outside Creek School for comment, but did not receive a response.

According to Tulare County Office of Education, their agency doesn't have a say over day-to-day operations of school districts.
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