Las Virgenes Unified School District opens for on-campus learning with safety restrictions

One local school district is welcoming some of its youngest learners back to the classroom.

All nine elementary schools in the Las Virgenes Unified School District are now back to on-campus learning, but only to students who are in transitional kindergarten through second grade.

Las Virgenes is the first district to get approval from Los Angeles County to reopen for in-person learning, and it comes with many safety restrictions in place.

"Making sure our staff and our students are safe is job number one, two, three and four," said Superintendent Dan Stepenosky

This will be the first time students will be stepping foot on campus in several months and it will look very different.

Desks are spaced out, teachers are equipped with personal protective equipment and masks are required.

And before entering the building, a health screening must be completed and a temperature check performed.

"We're going to have our students divided in two cohorts. County regulations say we cannot have more than 12 children in a classroom," Stepenosky said.

Las Virgenes welcomed students of all grade levels with special needs on Oct. 5.

But Monday, it opens for in-person learning for the first time to the general population, after visits and inspections from LA County's Department of Public Health.

Even with the new safety guidelines in place some parents say they're uncomfortable with the idea of sending their kids back to school.

James Fields, a parent to a 5th grader at the district, says even when 5th graders are allowed back, he will choose to keep his son home unless there's a coronavirus vaccine.

"Just the fact that you have young children that are susceptible to contracting just regular colds and flus and things like that, and you have people in Washington D.C. with all their screenings and protections still contract the virus, then I just don't think it's wise at this time to be doing it. We're spiking all over the nation so we should still stay the course," he said.

The superintendent says they continue to look at what other local school districts are doing to keep students and staff safe and they are asking everyone for patience.
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