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LA County Says No – for Now – to School Waivers for In-Person Instruction



These numbers are still too high, according to the LA County Department of Health, to allow schools to apply for waivers that would allow in-person school instruction for some students.

On July 17, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that no schools, public or private, would be able to re-open for in-person instruction until their county has been off the state’s coronavirus watchlist for at least two weeks.  But a footnote in Newsom’s announcement also stated that some schools might be able to apply to their County Health Departments for waivers that would allow in-person instruction for grades K-6.  At the time, no further rules or application procedures for the waivers were provided, but the note gave hope to at least some parents who have been eager for their students to return to class safely at some point in the near future.

Yesterday, though, the LA County Department of Public Health put an end to a lot of parent and school questions about waiver applications, announcing that:

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will adhere to new guidance from the California Department of Public Health, which recommends that Counties with case rates at or above 200 cases per 100,000 residents do not extend waivers for the re-opening of classroom instruction for students in grades TK- 6.

Los Angeles County’s case rate currently is 355 per 100,000 and we will not be considering waiver applications, at this point in time.”

So at least for now, until LA County’s case rate falls below 200 cases per 100,000 people, all grades, in all schools, will continue with remote instruction only.

Meanwhile, LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents teachers in LA schools, did come to a preliminary agreement this week on protocols for online instruction.  The agreement provides grade-by-grade requirements for the number of required instructional minutes per day for both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and daily schedules for each grade for instruction, teacher preparation, and office hours for parent/student support.

The full agreement also contains provisions for returning to school buildings, professional development, compensation, technology support, special education requirements, how non-classroom educators (such as librarians, itinerant art and music teachers, etc.) will fulfill their roles in the new online enviroment…and more.

According to UTLA, “The agreement will next go to the LAUSD School Board for a vote as well as a vote of UTLA members next week. If ratified by UTLA members, the agreement will remain in force until December 31, 2020, or until students physically return to LAUSD schools for regular instruction.”


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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