Inland Empire schools beginning to reopen

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- Little by little, students in the Inland Empire are returning to classrooms.

Some districts already have the greenlight to bring students back on campus, while others are awaiting approval.

San Bernardino County public health has given all elementary schools permission to reopen, if they have an approved safety plan, after the county's COVID-19 case rate dropped to the state's acceptable threshold.

Sacred Heart Academy, a private Catholic school in Redlands, was among those welcoming students back this week.

"Hoping and praying for it but we wanted it only when it was safe and we had all of the PPE and equipment that we need to ensure everyone's safety," said Sacred Heart Principal Angie Williams.

Riverside County can also begin the process of bringing back its TK through 6th grade students.

But first each school district has to submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan to the county and state public health departments for approval.

"It is really a true safety plan - how the kids will be in class, what the distance is between the students, the cohorts that go to lunch together, masking, washing their hands, cleaning the school rooms," said Michael Osur, assistant director with the Riverside County Department of Public Health.

So far, four districts have been approved: Murrieta Valley, Palo Verde, Desert Sands and Corona-Norco Unified School districts have notified parents of return dates.

Twenty-five other Riverside County schools districts have also submitted their safety plans and are waiting for approval.

Riverside County has also opened all its public health clinics to all educators interested in getting vaccinated. However, that is not a requirement for schools to reopen.
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