By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday, August 4, that the county will not be considering waivers for schools to reopen campuses under specified conditions.
The decision comes after the California Department of Public Health released new guidance, advising counties with case rates at or above 200 cases per 100,000 residents to not extend waivers, which would allow in-person class instruction for students TK-6.
At the time of the statement, the LA County case rate was at 355 cases per 100,000 residents.
“We know that to many families, this is a disappointing announcement, but it’s based on the existing science and data that is guiding all of our decision-making,” according to a statement from Public Health.
Public Health reported that the decision would be reconsidered once the case rate decreases to the level recommended by the state.
Seven Arrows Elementary School Director of Strategic Marketing and Enrollment Management Fiona Farrahi shared the school’s current plan with the Post.
“We are aggressively pursuing all options to secure the waiver in the interim, including coordination with other independent private schools, among other options,” Farrahi said. “We know our plan can be a model for others on how to reopen a school safely in these challenging times.
“For now, we will open school with distance learning 2.0 and then transition to in-person once the application is approved under the current metric they have defined.”
Calvary Christian School had previously announced plans to resume in-person instruction as well, so long as the campus is permitted to do so.
“We fortunately do not begin school until September 8, so we hope that something might change between now and then, but we are complying with local guidelines,” a spokesperson from the school shared. “For now, we are planning to open in-person for preschool, and remotely for elementary and middle school. Our in-person learning will be with all of the CDC and Departments of Public Health protocols in place.”
Los Angeles Unified School District reached a tentative agreement with United Teachers LA addressing distance learning in early August.
“The parties recognize the need for an online Distance Learning program to start the 2020-21 school year and prevent the spread of illness arising from COVID-19,” according to the tentative agreement.
The tentative agreement states that schedules must meet the total minutes of daily student engagement outlined in Senate Bill 98: 180 minutes for ETK-K, 230 minutes for first through third, and 240 minutes for fourth through 12th grade. The schedule defined in the agreement has a start time of 9 a.m. and an end time of 2:15 p.m.
Other highlights include daily attendance taken for each period or class session, and members are not required to work at an LAUSD building or facility until students are allowed to physically return to campus.
The tentative agreement will go to the LAUSD School Board for a vote, as well as UTLA members. Voting will take place over three days: August 12, 13 and 14.
If the agreement is ratified by UTLA members, the agreement will be in force until December 31. If members don’t ratify the agreement, UTLA would have to return the drawing board and bargain again with LAUSD “and there is no guarantee that an agreement could be reached,” according to an email from UTLA.
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