FOUNTAIN VALLEY (CBSLA) — Elementary schools in the Fountain Valley School District will welcome back students Tuesday for the first time in more than six months.
All elementary schools in the district will reopen on a hybrid schedule beginning Tuesday, with one group of students attending classes in the morning, and another in the afternoon.
“I didn’t like Zoom at all and I really missed my teachers,” student Penelope Fox told CBSLA.
Fountain Valley middle school students will begin a rotating day hybrid schedule beginning on Thursday.
The OK to reopen all O.C. schools beginning Tuesday was made possible after the county was upgraded from the purple to red tier earlier this month thanks to its low coronavirus numbers. Once it was upgraded, there was a 14-day waiting period before it could reopen schools.
The Cypress School District is slated to begin in-person instruction on Wednesday. The Irvine Unified School District and Tustin Unified school districts are scheduled to begin rolling in-person instruction Thursday.
Despite receiving approval to resume in-person instruction, several other Orange County school districts have opted to stick with distance learning for the time-being.
Dozens of private schools – along with six elementary schools in the Los Alamitos Unified School District – have had campuses open to students for several weeks already after being granted special waivers to do so.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District, which has 22,000 students, is planning to resume in-person instruction on Sept. 29, but only for K-2 students, and only for a few hours per day. The move garnered protest from the teachers’ union over the weekend.
O.C. could be upgraded from red to orange as soon as next week. Moving up to the orange tier means retail businesses would be able to operate at full capacity, instead of 50% in the red tier. Shopping malls also can operate at full capacity, but with closed common areas and reduced food courts.
The orange tier boosts capacity for churches, restaurants, movies, museums, zoos and aquariums from 25% to 50%. Gyms and fitness centers can boost capacity from 10% to 25% and reopen pools.
“We’re pushing to get the schools reopened, businesses beyond just — some are 10% some are 25% — a lot of businesses just can’t make a go of it at those low percentages,” O.C. Supervisor Don Wagner told CBSLA Monday.
To move to the orange tier of the state’s monitoring system, the county must sustain a daily new case rate of 1 to 3.9 cases per 100,000 population, and a positivity rate of 2 to 4.9%.
On Aug. 28, California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a four-tiered coronavirus assessment system that determines the process by which each county can reopen businesses and schools.
The entire Southland, except for O.C. and San Diego County, is currently under the worst level, purple, which measures the spread of coronavirus as “widespread.” Riverside County could move to red Tuesday.
In a news conference Monday afternoon, Newsom said there has been a decline in coronavirus numbers, calling it “real progress,” and hinting that several Calif. counties could be upgraded Tuesday from purple to red, or red to orange.
“So will the likelihood of more waivers being supported for our younger cohort of students and progress towards getting people back in in-person education,” Newsom said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)