According to a July 23 L.A. Times story (“Schools May Soon Apply for Waivers to Reopen – But Only With Union Support”), “School districts, charters and private schools in L.A. County may begin applying within days for waivers that would allow them to reopen elementary schools in person — but public schools will have to show they have union support, county public health officials said Thursday.
“The requirement to show union support will likely give some charters and private schools — most of whose teachers are not unionized — an advantage in qualifying for a waiver, potentially exacerbating the divide between well-off students and their more disadvantaged peers, which has only grown during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Governor Gavin Newsom has said that schools in counties that are on the state’s Covid-19 monitoring list could not open. The exception is for elementary schools that apply for waivers, which include letters of support from labor partners, parent organizations and community-based organizations that provide education services for children in the district.
Circling the News did a story ( https://www.circlingthenews.com/seven-arrows-ele…g-on-september-3/ )about Seven Arrows, a private K-6 school on La Cruz and the steps they plan to take to reopen, which include students and faculty wearing masks indoors, while maintaining proper social distancing of six feet.
Other safeguards will include: new handwashing stations, plexiglass installations around the school, keeping doors and windows open to increase airflow, changing of air filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13 to prevent spread via air ducts, hiring additional cleaning staff to sanitize the school and adding cleaning devices such as electrostatic sprayers and disinfectant foggers.
CTN received a July 24 email from Seven Arrows Marketing Director Fiona Farrahi, who reported that additional spaces in town were being secured for the school year so that proper distancing of students and employees could be maintained.
“We are laser focusing on partnering with 501(c) 3’s that are taking a hard hit due to Covid-19,” Farrahi said, adding that applications for the fall semester at the school “are in abundance.”
Seven Arrows is one of the schools that is following the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics that strongly recommends in-class learning, not only for academics, but also for kids to gain social and emotional skills.
Additionally, elementary schools across the globe have reopened this summer.
On July 21, a lawsuit filed by the Center for American Liberty in U.S. District Court, accused Gov. Newsom of putting politics ahead of children and that school closures would disproportionately hurt low-income, students of color and those with disabilities. They argue that if Child Care Centers can be safely opened so can schools. (Brach et al v. Newsom 2:20-cv-06472 Central District of California Western Division.)
The lawsuit started with a quote from Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case: “Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is the principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”