LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – For the first time in eight months, three elementary schools in the La Canada Unified School District are reopening campuses to students on Tuesday.
La Canada Elementary, Palm Crest Elementary and Paradise Canyon Elementary schools began in-person instruction for TK-2nd grade.
The district received a waiver to reopen back on Nov. 5.
The district says that students will all be required to wear masks and maintain six feet distance from their classmates.
Students are being divided up into morning and afternoon cohorts of no more than 12 students per class. Classes are no allowed to mix.
Classrooms are disinfected between each cohort.
Dozens of schools in Los Angeles County, mostly private, have already received similar waivers to resume in-person learning for younger students. Among those was St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, which welcomed back students in TK-2 on Monday.
With the surge in COVID-19 cases, on Monday California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would be pulling the “emergency brake” on reopening. Both Ventura and Orange counties were immediately downgraded back into the purple tier of the state’s coronavirus recovery roadmap.
The Ventura County Office of Education had announced last week that if the county falls back into the purple tier, schools which have not yet resumed in-person instruction will have to postpone plans to do so. Those which already have reopened will not have to close again.
While L.A. County is already in the purple tier, the county is experiencing a major spike in cases. L.A. County reported 2,795 new COVID-19 cases Monday and six new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 342,343 cases and 7,275 deaths. It’s unclear how the surge may complicate reopening plans for schools.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it had reached a tentative agreement on reopening protocols when its schools do reopen, which will not be until January at the very earliest.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will debate whether to explore instituting a business curfew.
“If by us taking individual and collective actions as people and as organizations we don’t get it back under control, then we have no choice but to take a hard look at what kinds of restrictions would again limit our ability to intermingle, particularly in those situations where there may be higher risk,” L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Monday. “So some of that would be looking at occupancy limits, some of that may be do we need to look at what some other states and some other cities have done in terms of restricting hours of operations. And of course if we continue on a path bound to overwhelm our health care system, we’d have to put back on the table the possibility of Safer At Home. But we’re not there yet.”