Kern County Moves to Red Tier (Tier 2) on State’s COVID-19 Framework; schools can begin in-person instruction with restrictions

October 13, 2020 /

The State announced today that Kern County has moved from the Purple Tier — the lowest tier — to the less restrictive Red Tier (Tier 2) on the State’s COVID-19 blueprint, effective immediately.

The State’s framework allows counties moving from the Purple to Red Tier to reopen indoor operations at additional businesses and allows certain activities to resume, as long as appropriate protocols and protective measures are followed.

“As a community we have made tremendous progress in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in Kern County,” Kern County Public Health said in a press release. “While moving into the Red Tier is exciting news for our local businesses and residents, we encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue practicing healthy habits including social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing hands frequently.”

The following businesses and activities are now allowed to resume with modifications:

·       Personal care services are allowed to open indoors.

·       Museums, zoos and aquariums are allowed to open indoors with 25 percent capacity.

·       Places of worship are allowed to open indoors with 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

·       Gyms and fitness centers are allowed to open indoors at 10 percent capacity.

·       Restaurants are allowed to open indoors with 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

·       Movie theaters are allowed to open indoors with 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Kern County Public Health also said with the County officially entering Tier 2, schools (including higher education) can open for in-person instruction, with modifications beginning Oct. 28.

“Because every district is unique, there will not be a one-size-fits-all approach,” Mary C. Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, said in a press release. “Schools are carefully considering the safety of students and staff and will announce specific plans that meet their varied and individualized needs.”

Some Kern County school districts have already opened for in-person learning with limited numbers of students through two separate re-opening frameworks allowed by the state. This includes school districts that have applied for and received waivers to re-open for grades TK-6, according to KCSOS.

KCSOS said Kern’s school districts can incrementally bring back students, prioritizing students who are most vulnerable to learning loss, including students with disabilities, English learning, foster and homeless students and students in primary grades.

Districts that choose to reopen for in-person instruction will have to adhere to state guidelines, including physical distancing and allowing for a fraction of capacity. Students and staff are required to wear face coverings, and districts must have an enhanced cleaning plan, health screenings, personal protective equipment, and contact tracing plans.

Districts can choose to operate under a hybrid model, which would allow students to be on campus some days and distance learn the other days.

If Kern’s metrics continue to improve, the County would be eligible to move forward in the framework to a less restrictive tier after three weeks.

If these metrics worsen, the County would revert into a more restrictive tier as soon as two weeks from now.

To learn more about the State framework, visit or

For more information on free COVID-19 testing, head to