LA County to Reopen Schools to Small Groups of Its Neediest Children

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Los Angeles County will soon resume in-person classroom lessons for a select group of students, though there are no official plans to end virtual learning for the majority of students.

State health officials placed LA County into one of the most restrictive tiers last month due to the high rate of infection and spread from Covid-19. But on Sept. 14, small groups of children with special needs, students who are learning English as a second language and others can resume in-person lessons at their schools, LA County Public Health officials said Wednesday.

“As long as a school is able to fully implement the health officer’s reopening protocol, this will get children who are in the most need of in-person learning back into the classroom,” said LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.

While a small, stable cohort of students will be returning to classrooms in some capacity this month, LA County health officials say the schools do not need to apply for a waiver with the California health department since the county does not meet the threshold to resume in-person classes. But under the newly announced modification to the health order, groups of no more than 12 students and two instructors each can return to the classroom.

School officials will need to maintain infection control and physical distancing.

Districts in counties that see stable infection rates can apply for a waiver with state officials to resume in-person lessons. But LA County is in one of the worst tiers with an infection rate of over 10 cases per 100,000 people.

LA County will also dip its toe into reopening of indoor services, with hair salons and barbershops allowed to resume operations in a limited capacity. Those businesses are still encouraged to offer outdoor services, but barbers and beauticians can now offer indoor haircuts to a limited number of people starting Thursday.

As of Wednesday, LA County has seen 5,800 deaths from the novel coronavirus and nearly 294,000 confirmed infections.

Still, officials say hospitalizations have leveled off though 51 Angelenos died from Covid-19 complications in the last 24 hours and over 1,400 new infections confirmed.

The county continues to see more infections and deaths among its homeless population. Since the pandemic began, over 1,600 homeless people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. And while just 41 have died, 15 of those deaths occurred in August alone.

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