By Christine Huard
The Del Mar Union School District has asked local health officials for a waiver that would allow its students to return to the classroom for in-person instruction before the state gives the OK for schools to physically reopen. The waiver applies only to transitional kindergarten (TK) through 6th grade classes.
Del Mar is the second public school district in San Diego County to submit the waiver application since the option became available to schools with students in TK through Grade 6 just over a week ago. As of Friday, 54 private, faith-based and charters schools had done so, according to the county Health and Human Services Department.
Del Mar, which serves about 4,000 students in kindergarten through Grade 6, will start the new academic Aug. 24. According to the county, waiver applications must be submitted 14 days prior to the school’s proposed date of reopening. The waiver will be granted or denied within five days of submitting the request.
When the Health and Human Services Department receives a waiver application, it is reviewed and a determination is made whether to grant or deny the waiver by evaluating local community epidemiological data and in consultation with the state Department of Public Health.
Under that timeline, if Del Mar receives a waiver, it’s possible students whose parents prefer in-person instruction to distance learning would be able to come back to school around Sept. 7.
Del Mar is ready to offer a distance learning program called Launch and in-person instruction
“Launch provides families a distance learning option to learn from our talented teachers and benefit from our district’s outstanding distance learning curriculum,” Superintendent Holly McClurg wrote in the latest message to families that appears on the district’s website. “Our in-person option is focused on children being physically present in school. Extensive preparation has taken place to allow for the safe return of children to our schools.”
The Rancho Santa Fe School District is the only other public school district in the county to apply for a waiver so far. Administrators expect to know by the start of the week if the waiver was granted. If it is, the K-8 school district would be able to start face-to-face instruction with K-6 students when it’s school year begins Aug. 24.
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