Grade schools get the okay to reopen amid precautions

An ‘encouraging milestone’

City News Service | 2/19/2021, midnight
Elementary schools this week in Los Angeles County were..

Elementary schools this week in Los Angeles County were permitted to reopen for in-class instruction due to dropping coronavirus rates

In-person instruction has been unavailable to the vast majority of the roughly 1.5 million students in public and private schools countywide since March 2020, but the state permits elementary schools to reopen as soon as counties reach an adjusted case rate of 25 per 100,000, a milestone Los Angeles health officials said Monday they expected to reach by mid-week.

The news means that schools could be permitted to offer in-class instruction for students in grades TK-6. All schools wishing to reopen must submit plans to the County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health certifying that they have implemented a full range of safety measures to permit a safe reopening.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn sent out a celebratory tweet regarding the announcement.

"L.A. County has officially reached the state’s threshold for reopening elementary schools,’’ Supervisor Janice Hahn stated in a tweet. “Schools can reopen for grades K-6 if they have a waiver or submitted their COVID Safety Plans in advance.

“This is what we have been working towards," she said. “Thank you to everyone who has worn your masks and kept your distance. Case rates in L.A. County are dropping. Now we can continue the work getting our kids and teachers safely back in classrooms where they belong.’’

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the news is an “encouraging milestone.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to ensure safety for students, teachers and staff returning to schools.’’

Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying, in part, "I welcome the encouraging news that Los Angeles County has reached the threshold in COVID-19 case rates to allow our elementary schools to reopen for in-person instruction.