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The First 4 Los Angeles County Schools Approved For Reopening Waivers Are Private Schools

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Public health officials on Wednesday provided an update on the number of schools applying for waivers and providing in-person support. (L.A. County screenshot)
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While general school reopenings are still not possible so long as Los Angeles County is in the most restrictive of the state’s coronavirus tiers, more than 100 schools have applied for waivers of those rules to reopen their classrooms for transitional kindergarteners to second graders.

On Wednesday, county health officials named four schools that have had those applications approved so far: Holy Angels School in Arcadia, Kadima Day School in West Hills, Los Encinos School in Encino, and Rabbi Jacob Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Ann in Los Angeles.

All four are classified as private schools in the California Department of Education directory.

Remember: when the Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health created the process for applying for these waivers late last month, they put some guardrails on the process, including:

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  • A cap of no more than 30 waivers granted per week
  • A preference for schools with more low-income students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals
  • An even geographic distribution among the five supervisorial districts

The four approved schools are the first to be granted school reopening waivers in L.A. County. With the waivers, they can welcome staff and students in grades TK-2 back to campus for in-person instruction.

As of Wednesday, 110 schools have applied for waivers. The majority — 87 so far — are private schools. Eighteen are charter schools and five public district schools have also submitted applications.

Public Health declined to list the schools that have applied so far, only providing the names and applications of those approved.

The waivers are one of two ways schools can reopen while a general countywide reopening of schools is not permitted.

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The other way is to provide “specialized services” to small groups of students with the highest need, like students with disabilities, students learning English, and homeless and foster youth.

According to the county health department, almost 1,000 schools have reopened for these specialized services. They show a different pattern than those that have applied for waivers: the majority — almost 70% — are public, district schools, while 18% are charter schools and 13% are private schools.

These reopenings don’t require previous approval or special permission from the county Public Health Department, but were limited to 10% or fewer of the students on campus at a time.

But now, as Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced in a Wednesday briefing, county health officials will raise that percentage to 25%.

“Throughout this process, the county monitored schools that reopened to inform our progress to advance further,” Barger said. “We will now increase to 25% capacity for high-need students, so more children and youth can have access to their teachers and the onsite support system that are so critical for their growth and for their education.”

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In a report released on Wednesday by the parent advocacy group Speak UP, three quarters of parents of LAUSD and charter school students with special needs surveyed said distance learning has been inadequate.

READ MORE OF OUR COVERAGE OF THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS:

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