Long Beach health department is accepting school reopening waivers for TK-2 grades

A day after Los Angeles County opened its waiver process for schools to reopen to younger students, Long Beach health officials announced they will be accepting waiver applications for elementary schools in the city too.

While the county remains in the most restrictive tier, meaning COVID-19 is still considered widespread and many businesses and schools remain closed, the state has allowed schools to reopen Transitional Kindergarten through second grade classes for in-person learning.

As of Wednesday, the city hadn’t received any applications for waivers, Mayor Robert Garcia said.

The process is the same as the county’s: Applicants for the city and county waivers must provide letters of support from parent, teacher and staff groups and attest they have enough personal protective equipment to protect those in the school and plans in place for periodic testing of staff.

The application also asks for how many cohorts, students, teachers, administrators and staff members are expected to be on campus and the URL where the school’s reopening protocols are posted.

Both waivers prioritize schools with the most students who need free or reduced lunch. While the county will only grant 30 waivers per week, City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said Long Beach doesn’t have a limit, given it doesn’t have as many schools as the county. She noted that if the department gets a large influx of applications, they will have to stagger them.

The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education is expected to discuss the process at Wednesday night’s meeting, according to the agenda.

On Monday, county and city officials allowed nail salons, bars and playgrounds to reopen with restrictions in place. 

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.