Elementary schools allowed to apply for waiver

Students could be back for in-person instruction

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Several elementary schools in San Benito County could be one step closer to allowing students to return to in-person instruction, but only under certain circumstances. 

Dr. David Ghilarducci, county interim Public Health Officer, on Aug. 7 issued a press release saying that a waiver—applicable for grades transitional kindergarten to sixth—is now available. 

However, schools cannot open for in-person instruction without a waiver until San Benito County is off the state’s monitoring list for at least 14 days. The county is currently on the state’s monitoring list and schools must conduct distancing learning until it is off the list.

The waiver applies to public, charter and private schools with grades TK-6, even if the grade configuration at the school includes additional grade levels. There are 12 school districts within the San Benito County Office of Education system.

Ghilarducci said in the press release that the waiver may only be submitted to the local public health departments by a district superintendent, private school principal or head of school or executive director of a charter school.

All waiver applications must show the decision to apply for the waiver was determined in consultation with parent, labor and community organizations at each school site for which an application is being submitted. 

On Aug. 3, the California Department of Public Health released a detailed guide for in-person instruction for elementary schools in counties on the state monitoring list. Ghilarducci said that limitations apply for counties on the monitoring list. 

The state recommends that counties on the monitoring list with 14-day case rates more than two times the threshold (200 cases per 100,000 residents) should not be considered for a waiver to reopen in-person instruction, according to Ghilarducci.

Public health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions and consult with the CDPH to get a waiver granted.The status of each county and the monitoring list can be found online at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmapcounties/. Scroll to the middle of the webpage to view the map. A complete list of Industry Guidance can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/ COVID-19 Hotline: 831-636-4113 or [email protected]