Some LA County schools cleared to reopen this week

The Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors Hilda Solis says, there’s "good news about TK thru 6th-grade schools which can reopen beginning today..."

But that doesn’t mean they did.

There are school districts in Los Angeles County that have been having in-person classes thanks to waivers and now have just added 3rd grade, like the La Canada district.

Another district, Las Virgenes Unified School District has been operating under a waiver for quite some time. LVUSD Superintendent Dan Stepenosky says that with the drop in cases, "It basically allows us to open 4th and 5th grade. We started to make plans and notified staff. So, we’re going to have 4th and 5th grades back on campus Monday, March 1."

Why not start immediately? Stepenosky says, "We wanted to give everyone enough notice and planning. We didn’t expect the case rate to drop as quickly as it did."

Arturo Valdez is the Deputy Superintendent of the LA County School District. He says now that the case rate has dropped sufficiently schools have some business to do before opening.

He says, "There has been a lot of preparation by superintendents." While Plexiglas and other safety measures are in the schools he says there is now the process of communicating with parents, teachers, students, members of district boards and more."

Maria Martinez-Poulin heads up the Whittier City Schools. The Superintendent told FOX 11, "I think it’s important that the county said the schools CAN open and they leave it up to the school district community and school boards"

And, others are making all of the necessary arrangements to reopen according to LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer who said during a news briefing, "There are 12 school districts that have already submitted their COVID safety plans and are currently approved for reopening. This includes LAUSD."

LAUSD has not yet given an opening date while other districts are lining things up for what works best for them.

Says Arturo Valdez, "I can tell you I had a lot of conversations with Superintendents last night and this morning... and they’re excited and are at different stages. But I can tell you that they started this process months and months ago so they’re glad to be at this point where reopening is a reality for Tk thru 6th grade."

Valdez says don’t look for many school openings this week, but he’s excited for the 1.5 million students in this district.

As for the administrators, he says, "They’re all grappling with the same things. It’s not just the union. It’s the community... it’s the parents... it’s the administrators making sure everything is in place and so the best thing they can do is make a local decision which is in everyone’s best interest."

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