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LA County Health Officials Won't Allow School Reopening Waivers Until COVID Rate Falls

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Elementary schools in LA County will not be eligible for reopening waivers until the coronavirus case rate drops. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Los Angeles County health officials announced today that they will not consider requests for waivers to reopen elementary schools until the coronavirus case rate falls.

That announcement came a day after state education officials issued requirements for applying for the waivers under a plan rolled out more than two weeks ago by Governor Gavin Newsom. Counties on the state's COVID-19 watchlist are required to do distance learning unless the county is no longer on the watchlist for at least two weeks, or they obtain a reopening waiver for campuses.

But with coronavirus cases still high, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials announced that they will not consider any waiver requests right now.

"This decision will be reconsidered once the case rate falls to the levels recommended by the State."

Those recommended levels call for coronavirus rates to be below
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200 cases per 100,000 residents before a county considers waiver applications. L.A. County's current case rate is 355 per 100,000, according to the health department.

Case rates in San Bernardino and Riverside counties are also above the state guidelines. But health officials in Orange County said the current case rate is 149.5 per 100,000 residents. The waiver application process remains open there and officials have posted an application form.

According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, most of the more than 50 schools who have reached out with early interest in the waivers were private schools. We spoke with the head of one of those schools recently.

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