Starting Monday Riverside County schools can apply for waivers to open for in-person teaching. The waivers would only apply to certain grades and applicants will have to go through a thorough application process. NBC Palm Springs spoke to Riverside County Public health officials who explain the process.
Many families have reported issues with online learning since schools started in the past couple of weeks. Add that to decreased coronavirus numbers in the county and we could see kids back in the classroom soon.
“At some point, later on, that is something that is possible, but right now that’s just not in the cards,” explained Jose Arballo Jr, Senior Public Information Specialist with Riverside County Public Health.
The county’s top public health officer will review each application to ensure safety for students and teachers. Riverside County is still on the state’s coronavirus watch list, which means in-person learning without a waiver is still prohibited.
But officials say we are headed in the right direction and could soon meet the criteria to be taken off the list.
“The positivity rate is somewhere between ten and twelve, but we want to get it to eight. the numbers are down, the hospitalizations are down, ICU cases are down, so those are all looking good,” added Arballo.
As for how soon we could see kids back in classes, it’s unclear exactly how long the application process will take.
“I don’t know if it’s a matter of days or a week or so, but we’ll process those applications once they start coming on Monday as quickly as possible, but again Dr. Kaiser will be very thorough and it’s just not going to be a matter of the applications being reviewed quickly and as he said this is not a rubber stamp.”
School districts who do not apply for the waiver will have to wait till riverside county is off the state’s watch list for 14 days.