LA County schools reopening work to balance safety, education of youngest students

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- As Los Angeles County hit the state milestone for allowing elementary schools to reopen, some school districts were already set to welcome back students as soon as they received the green light.

L.A. County schools that obtained a waiver to reopen earlier in the year will be first to bring back elementary students, like La Cañada Elementary School since the city has its own school district. They brought back third grade students Tuesday - the first day possible.

"It's been hard to be home for all of us," acknowledged third grade teacher Deborah Purden, who added that there's been some difficulties teaching via Zoom.

Richmond Street School in El Segundo also got a waiver for K through second grade students and will eventually bring back third to sixth graders.

RELATED: LA County hits threshold to let elementary schools reopen
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As COVID-19 cases decline and hospitals improve capacity, Los Angeles County has hit a state milestone for allowing elementary schools to reopen - but that doesn't mean they will anytime soon.

One father says the benefit of having his daughter back in the classroom is worth the risk.

"I think it's always about balancing risks and benefits, and for us the benefit of her being in school is so great, so we think we're getting the best possible scenario we can right now," the parent said.

Resurrection Catholic School in Boyle Heights brought back kindergarten through second grade on Feb. 1 and will plan to bring back third and fourth graders at the beginning of March.

"Once we speak to our families, understand their needs, make sure we talk to the teachers, make sure we practice with ourselves what it means to have more kids in-person in a safe way, then we'll determine when the appropriate time will be for the older students," said Catalina Saenz, the principal of the school.
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