PALMDALE — Supervisor Kathryn Barger and state Sen. Scott Wilk sent a letter of support on behalf of public and private schools in the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys to Gov. Gavin Newsom for reopening waivers following the governor’s July 17 order that school campuses in counties on the state’s monitoring list remain closed because of spiking COVID-19 cases.
“All Barger and I are asking is that if a school or school district meets the metrics laid out by his reopening executive order that we support the waiver request,” Wilk said Friday.
Newsom’s order applies to public school districts, charter schools, and private schools. Schools may not physically reopen for in-person instruction until their county has been off the monitoring list for at least 14 days.
Antelope Valley schools will start the 2020-21 school year with distance learning.
Elementary schools can apply for a waiver of the state criteria for in-person instruction from the local health officer if the superintendent, or equivalent for charter or private schools, according the state Public Health Department, requests it, in consultation with labor unions, parents and community organizations.
Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with the state Public Health Department when considering a waiver request, the department said.
Barger and Wilk participated in an hour-long Zoom meeting on July 17 with the Antelope Valley School Boards Association.
“The school districts of the North County are committed to creating sustainable learning environments that protect students, parents and teachers,” the letter said. “These classrooms will not only begin to bridge the gaps created by distance learning this past spring, bu also develop a blueprint that other districts in Los Angeles can follow.”
Local educators and city leaders have said the Antelope Valley should not be included in the Los Angeles County Health Department order because of lower population density.