By CBSLA Staff

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Four school districts have received the green light from Riverside County health officials and were awaiting state approval to resume in-person instruction, county officials said Tuesday.

“It has been a very difficult year for our teachers, students and parents,” Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel said. “So many have been waiting for a return to in-person learning. This is an important day for our students and entire education community.”

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The four districts awaiting final approval from the California Department of Public Health are:

  • Corona-Norco Unified School District;
  • Desert Sands Unified School District;
  • Murrieta Valley Unified School District; and
  • Palo Verde Valley Unified School District.

Corona-Norco received formal approval from the county and state back in November, but the process was tabled when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order Dec. 6. That order has since been lifted.

County officials said a few private schools have been offering in-person instruction since last summer, but most public schools in the county have been fully remote since August.

According to the Riverside University Health System, schools are eligible to resume in-person instruction for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade now that the county has a daily case rate of less than 25 per 100,000 residents.

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On Tuesday, the county reported 719 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 31 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 288,541 cases and 3,695 deaths. Of those who contracted the illness, 266,577 had recovered.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the county’s adjusted seven-day average positivity rate dropped below 10% — the lowest in almost three months — to 7.6%.

And hospitalizations continued to decline, with 407 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals, 112 of whom were being treated in intensive care units — both decreases from Monday.

According to RUHS, the waiver review process for reopening schools is available to all districts, and applications will be reviewed by a county assessment team on an ongoing basis.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)