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Nearly 20 elementary schools, districts in San Diego County granted waivers to reopen

Close to 100 San Diego County elementary schools and districts have applied for a waiver so far.

SAN DIEGO — As of Wednesday, 92 elementary schools and districts have applied for a waiver to reopen physical classrooms. As of Wednesday night, 19 had been granted permission to do so.

The schools and districts approved for waivers are:

  1. Calvary Christian Academy
  2. Christ Lutheran School
  3. Christian Unified School District East
  4. Christian Unified School District South
  5. Christian Unified School District West
  6. City Tree Christian School
  7. Francis Parker School
  8. Gillispie School
  9. La Jolla Country Day School
  10. Ocean View Christian Academy
  11. Ramona Lutheran Christian School
  12. Rancho Santa Fe School District
  13. Saint Patrick School
  14. Santa Fe Christian School
  15. Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran School
  16. The Bishop's School
  17. The Cambridge School
  18. The Community School of San Diego
  19. The Rock Academy

Officials at the Rock Academy Elementary in San Diego said they were among the first in line to apply for a waiver. Now that it's been granted, the school is preparing to return to in-person learning at the end of the month. 

The head of school Chuck Leslie said the key will be keeping kids in socially distanced cohorts. Classes will be smaller - made up of 12 kids versus 24 which they were pre-COVID. And playgrounds will be sanitized after each group uses them. 

But Rock Academy parents uneasy with the idea do have the choice of keeping their kids home for virtual learning.

“We found 10% want to keep students home and 90 are happy to come back and interact in person," Leslie said.

The California Department of Public Health earlier this month released details on the process for elementary schools to request a waiver in order to resume in-person instruction. 

The guidance released previously details how the waiver process works and includes the following steps and guidelines:

  • A district superintendent, private school principal or head of school, or executive director of a charter school may apply for a waiver from the local health officer to open an elementary school for in-person instruction in a county on the monitoring list. 
  • This waiver is applicable only for grades TK-6, even if the grade configuration at the school includes additional grades. 
  • The application for a waiver must include an attestation that the applicant consulted with parent, labor, and community organizations at each school site for which an application is being submitted.
  • The application must also include confirmation that the elementary school reopening plans have been published on the website of the local educational agency (or private school). 
  • Reopening plans must address, at a minimum, plans for cleaning and disinfection, cohorting, movement within school, face coverings and protective equipment, health screenings, healthy hygiene practices, contact tracing, physical distancing, staff training and family education, testing, communication plans and triggers for switching to distance learning. 

County health officers can only grant a waiver after considering local COVID-19 data and consulting with the California Department of Public Health.

Watch the full San Diego County COVID-19 update from Wednesday:

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