150-coronavirus-cases-reported-at-la.-county-schools-as-thousands-return-to-campuses

Coronavirus outbreaks have been limited as more than 100,000 students and staff members returned to school campuses in Los Angeles County, public health officials said Thursday.

About 150 cases have been reported among students and staff, with outbreaks at 12 schools. All but one of the outbreaks involve fewer than four people, most of them staff, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a Thursday news conference.

“As in any other sector that’s open, given the widespread transmission of COVID-19, there will be and are cases at school sites,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer did not name the school with a larger outbreak, but said those cases were related to a sports team that traveled to Arizona for a competition.

Those who have returned to campuses for on-site learning include more than 75,000 students and 30,000 staff members.

Currently in the county, schools are allowed to reopen to serve high-needs students, or for pre-K through second grade students if they’re approved by the state for a waiver.

So far, 74 schools have been granted a waiver and about 1,570 have reopened for high-needs students. Another 81 campuses have been submitted to the state for final approval, which is expected to come by next week, according to Ferrer.

Another 238 waiver applications are being processed, including 150 for private schools, 81 for public schools and six from charter schools.

The applications can take up to three weeks to process, and currently no more than 50 schools can be approved for a waiver each week. Schools with high percentages of students eligible for free and reduced meals are given first priority.

Nearly three-quarters of the campuses that have resumed on-site learning for high-needs students are public schools, while 15% are charter schools and 12% private.

So far, the vast majority of campuses — some 92% — have reopened in compliance with safety protocols, Ferrer said.

“We work with all the other schools to make sure that they have the support they need to come into full compliance,” she said.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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