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A Closure Loophole For Elementary Schools? How Officials Can Apply For A Waiver

In a July 24 news conference, Gov. Newsom discussed the reasoning behind the waivers for elementary schools. (Screenshot via Facebook)
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When California announced that schools in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list won’t be able to reopen, there was this footnote: There will be a waiver process for interested elementary schools.

“It’s challenging for our youngest students: preschoolers, kindergarteners, even up through third grade,said California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly in explaining the reasoning behind the decision.

To request a waiver, districts, charter schools, and private schools will have to go through their county health officer.

And according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, so far most of the schools that have expressed an interest there have been private schools.

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One example: TVT Community Day School in Irvine, where Head of School Jeff Davis told us:

“The county and the state are looking for schools who are implementing protocols based on … proven research that can keep the students and faculties safe. I challenge anybody to find a school that has done more work in this area than TVT Community Day School.”

Orange County’s largest public school districts, including Capistrano Unified, Santa Ana Unified, Garden Grove Unified, and Irvine Unified, have all announced they will begin the school year with distance learning.


We will continue to report on these waivers, and which schools do – and don’t – obtain one. If your school or district is considering applying for one of these waivers, please reach out to reporter Carla Javier.