By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Several private schools in Pacific Palisades, including Seven Arrows Elementary, Calvary Christian, Westside Waldorf and Corpus Christi, have been granted a waiver from Los Angeles County to reopen classrooms for in-person instruction to its youngest grades.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health offered the waiver opportunity for students in TK through second grade to return to school for in-person instruction beginning in early October.
Seven Arrows invited its students back to campus for in-person instruction starting this week, with two cohorts in separate classrooms to help maintain social distancing, five days per week from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Seven Arrows’ safety protocols include health screenings every morning, mask-wearing, handwashing, weekly COVID-19 testing and a plan to conduct over 40% of instruction outside.
“Seven Arrows has spent a great deal of time and resources to prepare for this point in time, and words cannot express our gratitude for being able to welcome our students back to campus,” Head of School Margarita Pagliai said in a statement. “We are so grateful to our faculty who have worked tirelessly to shape the most innovative distance learning curriculum, and at the same time, remained firmly committed to the waiver application processes and supporting a transition back to in-person learning.”
Calvary’s first- and second-grade students are slated to return to campus next week four days per week under the waiver approval, joining the preschool and kindergarten students who have been on-campus since September.
Students in third- through fifth-grade will return two days per week, and students in middle school will return for one day per week after the Thanksgiving break.
“Seeing as how these younger students are the hardest to serve via remote learning, we are excited to be able to offer them more time for in-person instruction,” a representative from the school shared. “For these higher grades, we are thrilled to be able to offer in-person instruction and assessments … We are following all K-12 reopening guidelines and are in constant communication with LADPH, who have been apprised of our plans.”
Calvary will be hosting cohorts of no more than 12 students in socially distanced classrooms with acrylic desk shields installed on desks. There will also be daily temperature checks, weekly COVID testing for staff, a second nurse’s station for COVID-like symptoms and more.
The school will continue to offer a remote learning program for students who choose to learn from home due to health and safety concerns.
Westside Waldorf School’s youngest students, between the ages of 2 and a half to 6, have been attending campus since early September, who will soon be joined by first- and second-grade students under waiver approval.
“We started this week with a couple of in-person days and will be moving gradually to a five-day schedule,” a representative from the school said. “WWS is thrilled that its youngest students will be able to come back to campus and fully experience our rich curriculum with the dimension and social benefits that come with an in-person school experience and truly highlight our living curriculum.”
WWS will have temperature checks upon arrival and masks worn throughout the day by all students and teachers, designated outdoor “mask-break” locations for students, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and more.
Corpus Christi Principal Suzanne Stewart Duffy said first- and second-grade students will return in a “staggered” approach starting Monday, November 16. Classes will be arranged in small, group cohorts with a maximum of 12 students, and students will be on campus Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
After the Thanksgiving break, third-grade students are slated to return.
St. Matthew’s Parish School has yet to receive waiver approval, but has invited students to campus under a Special Services Designation, which allows for up to 25% of its student body to be designated as needing in-person education.
In addition to its health and safety protocols, the school has curated a detailed set of travel and holiday protocols that extends to family gatherings and any matter of travel or destination.
Each family participating in the school’s on-campus, in-person instruction has signed a Community Covenant to observe and extend the safeguards of its guidelines into their private homes and lives.
“This caliber of parent partnership is a hallmark and tradition of the St. Matthew’s community and one that underscores our successes,” the school said to the Post.
If St. Matthew’s is granted approval, the school will roll out a hybrid model as it brings its lower school students back to campus, observing the maximum 12-students-per-pod requirements.
The county will continue to grant waiver-approval to no more than 30 schools each week, which will be equally distributed between the five supervisorial districts.
Los Angeles County had reached 325,876 confirmed cases of COVID-19 when factoring in Long Beach and Pasadena with 7,200 deaths as the Post went to print Tuesday. The number of cases had reached 176 in Pacific Palisades, with an additional 37 in Palisades Highlands.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story noted that St. Matthew’s had been granted a waiver. The story has been updated to reflect that St. Matthew’s is waiting for its waiver approval and has invited students to return under a Special Services Designation.
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