Some California elementary schools can apply for waiver to return to in-person instruction

Public and private grade schools serving kids in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, or first through sixth-grade classes can request the waiver.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California health officials have released guidelines that would allow elementary schools to reopen their campuses for in-person classes if they apply for a waiver.

Public and private grade schools serving kids in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, or first through sixth-grade classes can request the waiver.

The state will consider waivers for schools in counties on the state's monitoring list if they meet a list of criteria set by the California Department of Public Health.

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School districts that apply must first discuss the plan with labor unions, parents, and community organizations. The district's reopening plans for elementary schools must be available online for review and follow the school industry guidelines for reopening set by the state health department.

In addition to the school district's health and safety plan, state health officials will also look at their county's hospitalization trends and capacity, positivity rate, testing resources and other conditions that have placed the county on the monitoring list.

California health officials say that schools within counties with more than 200 cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks would not be considered for a reopening waiver.

Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Merced, and Madera counties have all been on the watchlist for more than two weeks. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said it was a hotspot for COVID-19 outbreaks, and the state has invested millions of dollars in reducing transmissions rates.

WATCH LIST: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse

Many local schools will start the academic year via distance learning, but some Fresno County politicians are still calling for campuses to bring back students regardless of state orders.

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The state also released guidelines for youth sports, allowing for activities that can follow physical distancing. Health officials say equipment should not be shared between students, and if that is unavoidable, they need to be sanitized between each use.

Any extra-curricular events that have congregating are banned.

Click here to see more of California's guidelines for reopening schools.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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