LA County takes step toward reopening some schools with waivers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Reopening schools is among the many nuanced decisions local leaders and families are faced with.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week took a cautious but significant step toward allowing some schools to reopen.

The board voted to begin accepting applications for school waivers for transitional kindergarten through second grade.

"I also have a fifth grader.. She counts as just as much as a second grader and a kindergartener," said Magaly Gomez with Kidsneedclass.com. a group of parents urging county leaders to reopen schools with necessary modifications for all grade levels.

"We understand that the COVID is real, the virus is real. We actually did have my uncle who succumbed to it back in June," she said. "But we understand that there are guidelines put in place that we are adhering to."

Starting with 30 school applications per week, the waiver process will prioritize schools with higher percentages of children who qualify for free or reduced meals, require consultation with the state and bi-weekly updates on how it's working.

"We are still at the early stages of gathering information around transmission amongst children," said county public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

Gomez's children are both enrolled in a private school. Other parents say they're not ready to send their kids back to school in person, citing concerns about getting smaller children to follow restrictions.

For many children the hardest part about not being in school physically is not seeing their friends regularly. That's what both of Gomez's children said.

"I miss most basically, having all my friends," said Olivia.

It's hard for her mom, too.

They've tried study-buddy meetings and small learning pods at home.

"The fact that I want my children to return to some sense of normalcy is so important and I know that many teachers are also wanting that for their students," Gomez said.

According to the public health department, the waiver application will require feedback from school employees as well. It will begin accepting applications in early October.
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