PALMDALE — Antelope Valley elementary schools could soon resume in-person instruction for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, after Los Angeles County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases dropped to 19 infections per 100,000 residents, well below the state’s threshold of 25 cases per 100,000 for reopening campuses.
“I welcome the encouraging news that Los Angeles County has reached the threshold in COVID-19 case rates to allow our elementary schools to reopen for in-person instruction,” Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo said in a statement.
Elementary campuses that do open would be subject to extensive safety protocols to return students and staff to school campuses. They include wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing as well as stable groups of students with fixed membership and no mixing with other groups. Districts must also incorporate COVID-19 testing into regular school operations.
Vaccinating school staff is not a state or local public health requirement. However, “prioritizing staff who work on campus with students for the vaccine is critical as our districts work with their labor partners to safely reopen campuses,” Duardo said.
It will be up to the individual school districts to decide whether to resume in-person instruction.
Palmdale School District is looking to welcome back small cohorts of special education students to school campuses. However, District administrators could not say when more students would be brought back to campuses.
“We have a lot of steps that we still have to work through, especially our labor unions, to make sure that all the measures in place for return of the teachers and the students,” Donna Campbell, assistant superintendent of Student Services/Special Education, said.
She said they are still waiting for more clarity from the state and the county on exactly what reopening will look like.