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Walnut Creek Magazine

Virtual Learning—Private Schools Apply for In-Person Teaching Waivers

Sep 22, 2020 09:21AM ● By Harper Klein

California recently transitioned to a new four-tier, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system, which opens the door for more school reopenings based on a county’s risk level. Those in the riskiest purple tier cannot reopen schools unless the health department grants a waiver, applicable to TK-6 elementary schools only,

The next tier, red, allows counties to reopen schools if they’ve been at that level for at least two weeks, though counties and districts can still impose stricter rules than the state.

Classrooms across the Bay Area have been shuttered since mid-March because of the pandemic, and state health officials released guidelines in early August for elementary schools to request waivers to reopen under strict safety protocols. County health officers decide whether to approve waivers, in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

As of September 21, CDPH reports 35 schools have applied for waivers to conduct in-person instruction in Contra Costa County. A list of all schools—primarily private—that have so far received waivers is available on the California Department of Public Health page. These include Seven Hills, Doris-Eaton, Contra Costa Jewish Day School, North Creek Academy, and Meher School among others. 

The state template application form requires schools to submit proof that they have consulted with parents, labor unions, and community groups. Each school’s reopening plan must be published online, demonstrating how it follows state and local public health guidelines.


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