By JENNIKA INGRAM and SARAH SHMERLING
Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday, July 17, that all schools in counties on the state’s Monitoring List, including Los Angeles, will not be permitted to open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the list for 14 consecutive days.
“In California, science will determine when a school can be physically open—and when it must close,” Newsom wrote in a tweet Friday. “But learning must be non-negotiable. Schools must provide meaningful learning during COVID-19. And we must do everything we can to keep our teachers, staff and students safe.”
Currently, there are 30 counties on the watch list, including LA, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Diego.
The governor’s plan is focused on five key areas: Basing in-person learning on local health data, strong mask requirements for anyone in school, physical distancing and other adaptations, regular testing and dedicated contact tracing for outbreaks, and rigorous distance learning.
For the counties not on the list, children from third grade to 12th grade will be able to attend school with the requirement of wearing masks, and adults must stay six feet apart from one another and students. Students in second grade and younger are encouraged to wear masks and social distance.
Campuses that reopen will have symptoms checks, including temperature checks and monthly staff coronavirus tests. If more than 5% of the school population tests positive, the entire campus will close.
The return to in-person learning will be determined by “local data that the public can track on a daily basis,” according to the Office of Governor Newsom’s website.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner had previously shared that campuses within the district, including Palisades Charter Elementary, Marquez Charter Elementary, Canyon Charter Elementary and Paul Revere Charter Middle schools, would remain closed at the start of the 2020-21 school year.
“While the new school year will begin in August, it will not start with students at school facilities,” Beutner shared in an update to the community on Monday, July 13. “The health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise.”
In alignment with LAUSD requiring all schools in the district to reopen in a 100% all-virtual mode with no in-person learning, Palisades Charter High School quickly followed suit and reported that the 2020-21 school year would begin in an eLearning environment.
Private schools in the Palisades began to reveal plans for whether or not they would reopen.
Seven Arrows Elementary School, which offers kindergarten through sixth-grade instruction, plans to adopt a hybrid model that “gives parents the option to choose to either have their child attend school in person full time or engage in full-time distance learning,” according to a press release.
“We are continuing to plan for in-school instruction, as we have more than a month for case rates and testing positivity to improve in Los Angeles,” a spokesperson for the school shared. “Because our planning has included a hybrid model, with some students learning in school, and others online, we are ready if we need to open fully online, and likewise will be able to make a quick transition to the hybrid model once Los Angeles County is off the state’s watchlist.”
Calvary Christian School will resume instruction for all students on September 8.
“Calvary will ensure compliance with all government guidelines, as we finalize our plans for student and staff safety, in hopes that we can return to campus,” according to a statement from the school.
“In addition, Calvary Christian School will offer remote learning for students who are unable to return to campus due to health concerns, or in case we are required to continue with at-home instruction based on the guidelines presented by Governor Newsom on July 17.”
Village School, which had assembled a potential plan for re-entry into in-person learning that spanned the first 10 weeks of the school year, has amended plans following Newsom’s order.
“Unless there is a remarkable change in the course of this ubiquitous and wretched virus in the next six weeks, Village will not re-open to in-person instruction as we had hoped to do on August 18,” Village School shared in an emailed statement.
“Until we can be sure we meet all criteria to keep our students and employees safe, we respect the governor’s order, and join the Los Angeles schools beginning remotely this fall on August 24.”
Corpus Christi School will follow the Department of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and begin the school year with distance learning.
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