Lucerne Valley school officials urge CA to allow more campuses to reopen

LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- In the Inland Empire, some elementary school students have been back in the classroom since fall, but it's a different story for most older students. The Lucerne Valley Unified School District superintendent wants to change that.

Lucerne Valley Elementary was the first school in the Inland Empire to reopen with COVID-19 protocols in place last August. District officials successfully urged state officials to allow the school a waiver, because coronavirus cases in the remote community in San Bernardino County were much lower than the rest of the region.

District superintendent Peter Livingston said the school remained opened despite the holiday surge of coronavirus cases.

"We have not had any COVID-19 cases traced back to the school or spread within the school," said Livingston. "We've had a couple people test positive and then we followed the protocols of isolation and quarantining of them."

Now, Livingston is pushing for the district's middle and high school to reopen, citing new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week. The CDC is recommending schools reopen in regions where case rates are below 50 per 100,000 residents.

RELATED: CDC: Strong evidence in-person schooling can be done safely amid COVID pandemic
EMBED More News Videos

The nation's top public health agency said Friday that in-person schooling can resume safely with masks, social distancing and other strategies, and vaccination of teachers, while

But that rivals guidance issued by the state of California, which has different protocols. Among other things, state officials aren't recommending schools reopen until the case rate drops below seven per 100,000 residents -- a much stricter threshold.

Livingston wants the state to adopt the guidance issued by the CDC instead.

"We'd like to see that adopted by the state," said Livingston. "It's coming from the CDC. That's science; and we want to be guided by the science. And I don't know what better science there is than the CDC guidance."

There are some students presently on their high school campus: some special education students, as well as children who have poor internet connectivity at home. There are also students on campus who have had a particularly difficult time with remote learning.

Livingston said if those students can be on campus, and it can be done safely, there's no reason not to allow the reopening of the middle and high school campus to a broader population of students.

"We're waiting to see what comes out from the state at this point. It would be great to get some guidance that would get even more schools open," he said. "We can always find reasons to keep schools closed, and we need to change that to start looking at successful places that have opened and continue to stay open and build off of that along with the CDC guidance."
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.