On Nov. 10, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) held a regular Board of Education meeting during which Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy shared updates with the community on how the current uptick in COVID-19 cases is affecting the physical reopening process and recent changes to the transitional kindergarten (TK) through second grade school waivers. After a motion was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 29, the L.A. County Department of Public Health (Public Health) began offering a waiver whereby schools may bring back students in grades TK-2 upon approval by Public Health.
Initially, Public health officials announced they would be granting up to 30 waivers per week, with priority given to schools with a large population of low-income students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Public Health has since increased the numbers of schools being selected for the waiver from 30 to 50 each week. Last week, Bregy relayed that BHUSD completed the waiver application for Hawthorne Elementary and Horace Mann Elementary, and during the Nov. 10 meeting indicated that officials could be granting approval as early as December. “However, and it’s not a popular thing to say. But it certainly would not be my recommendation to bring back these students in December, right before winter break,” said Bregy at the Nov. 10 meeting.
Los Angeles County, which remains firmly in the purple “widespread” tier, must achieve 14 consecutive days of less than an eight percent positivity rate and less than seven daily new cases per 100 thousand people before moving to the red tier, and allowing for in-person instruction. While all K-12 schools in purple tier counties are prohibited from physically reopening, Public Health updated their Health Order in September, allowing schools to submit an application to offer in-school instruction for small cohorts of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and children who are English Learners (EL) needing assessments and/or specialized in-school services.
At the meeting, Bregy presented the Board with a recommendation to approve the addendum allowing for small group special education cohorts to return to the physical campus. The Board voted unanimously in favor, ratifying the MOU between BHUSD and the Beverly Hills Education Association to bring back a limited number of high need students while remaining in compliance with the Public Health reopening protocols. The classroom must maintain six feet of social distance, require face coverings and will allow a maximum of 12 students per classroom for grades TK-2.
“You can turn on your television and you can see that the cases for COVID-19 are expanding in many states, including in L.A. County and our surrounding counties,” Bregy said.
He added: “As a reminder, we all play a part in ensuring that we keep the transmission rate down as much as possible.”