By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is offering a waiver opportunity for students in TK through second grade to return to school for in-person instruction.
The school waiver application went live on Tuesday, October 6. The county will grant approval to no more than 30 schools each week, which will be equally distributed between the five supervisorial districts.
Public Health reported that schools with a higher percentage of low-income students who receive free or reduced-price school lunches will be prioritized.
Schools seeking waivers may apply through a form, and must also submit letters of support from parents, labor unions, or groups who represent teachers and school staff.
A number of Palisadian schools submitted waivers this week in hopes of getting students back on campus soon.
“Clearly our preference is to be in-person … in a way that’s safe for our students, safe for our faculty and safe for the community overall,” Head of St. Matthew’s Parish School Edward Kim said to the Palisadian-Post. “We’re ready, and if we can do that, that’d be fantastic.”
St. Matthew’s Parish School was preparing to submit its application as the Post went to print Tuesday evening.
Kim said the school is already practicing a hybrid model with its early childhood division, which serves preschool and pre-K students.
He explained the school offers daily symptom screening, requires mask wearing, adheres to physical distancing and more. Kim said the school is fortunate to have an open space with no internal hallways, as well as a lot of doors and windows in the classrooms.
Kim said the biggest challenge so far has been cohorting and pods, but the school is doing everything to meet distancing requirements for its students.
Village School told the Post that it was also busy preparing materials to submit an application this week, ensuring all protocols adhere to the most recent guidelines.
“Village School is taking a deliberate and measured approach to reopening and committed to the safety of all of our faculty and students,” Head of School John Evans said. “When we do open our doors, our number one goal is to remain open. We have no intention of creating a back-and-forth, open-then-close situation for our children.
“We want our students to feel good about coming to school, to have a healthy and positive outlook, and we want them to feel taken care of and supported.”
The school will offer a limited reopening to its TK and kindergarten students, permitted under the current guidelines, beginning Monday, October 26.
“The county is allowing schools to offer in-person instruction for up to 10% of the school’s student body population deemed highest needs,” according to a statement. “We feel that our youngest learners would most benefit from this option.”
Prior to offering any in-person instruction, all faculty and staff will be tested for COVID-19.
Calvary Christian School has received approval to return its first- and second-grade students to campus part-time: Mondays and Tuesdays for first graders, Wednesdays and Thursdays for second graders. The students will be separated in small cohorts, per LA County guidelines.
Calvary submitted its waiver last week and a representative shared that they “are hopeful that it will be approved,” allowing students to return to campus full-time.
Seven Arrows Elementary applied for the waiver last week, a representative from the school shared.
“The portal opened last Tuesday morning and our school was one of the first to submit an application,” the representative said.
Each school reported they would continue to offer a virtual approach to students who would prefer to continue with remote learning.
Waivers are not automatically granted, and schools may not reopen for full TK-2 in-person instruction until Public Health communicates approval.
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