Four school districts in Riverside County are poised to reopen for in-person instruction, with more likely to follow based on the county’s move into a new eligibility phase under California Department of Public Health guidelines, it was announced Tuesday.
“It has been a very difficult year for our teachers, students and parents,” county Supervisor Karen Spiegel said. “So many have been waiting for a return to in-person learning. This is an important day for our students and entire education community.”
According to the Riverside University Health System, schools countywide are now eligible to restart transitional through sixth grade in-person instruction under the CDPH’s standards for public educational institutions.
A key metric for qualification is a countywide daily COVID-19 case rate of less than 25 per 100,000 residents, which the county now meets, officials said.
The county remains in the most restrictive purple tier under the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. However, as long as school districts have safety plans and protocols in place to mitigate coronavirus exposure risks, they can proceed with reopening, once authorizations have been granted.
Four districts have already received county-level approval and are awaiting final approval by the CDPH, which officials anticipate happening anytime. They are:
— Corona-Norco Unified School District;
— Desert Sands Unified School District;
— Murrieta Valley Unified School District; and
— Palo Verde Valley Unified School District.
Corona-Norco received formal approval from the county and state in November to recommence in-person classes — at all grade levels — but the process was temporarily tabled when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Dec. 6, which has since been canceled.
A few private schools have been in operation, offering in-person instruction, since last summer. Most public schools in the county have been conducting virtual classes since August.
According to RUHS, the waiver review process for reopening schools is available to all districts, and applications will be reviewed by a county assessment team on an ongoing basis.
Parents and guardians were encouraged to check with their local school boards to ascertain what plans and schedules are in the works.
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