LA County won't consider reopening waivers for elementary schools until COVID-19 case rate drops

Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday announced that they will not consider any applications for waivers to open elementary schools for in-person instruction.

"The decision will be reconsidered once the case rate falls to the levels recommended by the State," the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a press release.

Under the program, California health officials recommend that counties with COVID-19 case rates at or above 200 cases per 100,000 residents do not extend those waivers.

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California public health leaders on Monday outlined guidelines for how some elementary schools across the state may return to in-person instruction.

Local health officers are responsible for reviewing the school's safety plan and evaluating local transmission rates to either approve or deny the waiver application.

L.A. County's case rate is currently 355 cases per 100,000 residents, which officials say is too high.

"We know that to many families, this is a disappointing announcement, but it's based on the existing science and data that is guiding all of our decision-making," the press release read. "We need to ensure the health and safety of our children, school teachers and staff and all of their families."

Case rates in neighboring areas, such as San Bernardino County, are also too high to get a waiver. But district officials in Lucerne Valley, where case rates are much lower than the county, say they feel they're ready to reopen.

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District officials in Lucerne Valley say they feel they're ready to reopen, but whether the state grants them an exception is still up in the air.

"We would expect about eight to 10 kids in a classroom, that's it, two days a week," said Peter Livingston, Lucerne Valley Unified School District superintendent. "Then they would be doing their instruction from home on other days."
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