LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — After six months away, kids were back on campus at Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth on Tuesday. The private school welcomed its elementary students back for a half-day academic camp.
“We were hoping this would be the outcome, and we’re so happy to be here,” said one parent after dropping their student off.
Students got their temperatures taken as the exited their cars, and everyone was wearing a mask.
“They did a successful camp over the summer, so I’m very comfortable with this move,” another parent said.
Los Angeles County schools — public and private — are still prohibited from in-person learning. However, some private schools have found a way to welcome students back, despite the current health orders.
“DPH has received anecdotal reports of private schools who wish to operate as day camps while schools are closed to in-person instruction,” said the L.A. County Department of Public Health in a statement. “An entity does not need permission of DPH in order to operate as a day camp…although per the current health officer order, any entity operating as a day camp must be in compliance with the appropriate operating protocols.”
Sierra Canyon is an accredited day camp, so they are not breaking any health codes by operating an academic camp.
However, as private schools come up with workarounds to get their kids back on campus, the education gap will widen, said UCLA Professor of Education Tyrone Howard.
“The concern is that those families can do more for their children, which I do not begrudge,” Howard said. “[But they] will have the opportunities, will have the supports, will have the advantages to make sure that they don’t suffer academically during this moment. The deeper concern is those students who attend public schools — especially those children who are in poverty, which 80% of LAUSD students and families are — that they’re not getting those supports.”
Howard said he is not just concerned about the kids, either.
“I’m also concerned about the caregivers and parents, who themselves are stressed and overwhelmed,” he said.
Right now, L.A. County is only allowing waivers for schools to operate in person for special education students and English learners.