Riverside County now meets a state standard that allows elementary schools with approved coronavirus-prevention plans to return to in-person instruction, officials announced Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Four districts, including Corona-Norco and Murrieta Valley unified school districts, have won approval for their plans.
Tuesday marked the first day the county’s adjusted case rate — the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, adjusted for how many people are being tested for the virus — fell below 25, officials said in a news release.
Because of that, and because the county remains in the state’s purple or “widespread” coronavirus tier, schools and school districts with approved plans and checklists to prevent COVID-19 transmission can offer in-classroom learning for transitional kindergarten through sixth grade, the release states.
If a school has an approved plan, it can reopen immediately as far as Riverside County is concerned, county spokeswoman Brooke Federico said. But she noted that each school district “may have (memorandums of understanding) or other restrictions” that will determine its reopening date.
Previously, a county’s adjusted case rate had to fall below 25 per 100,000 and stay there for five straight days. But Federico, citing the California Department of Public Health, said the state released new guidance that removes the five-day requirement.
Even if the five-day requirement was still in effect, the county would currently meet it, Federico added.
So far, four school districts in the county — Corona-Norco Unified School District, Murrieta Valley Unified School District, Desert Sands Unified School District and Palo Verde Valley Unified School District in Blythe — have safety plans approved by the county, with state approval anticipated, the county news release states.
K-6 schools that opened for in-person learning under an earlier waiver process remain open, as are schools that opened for all grade levels when Riverside County was in the red coronavirus tier.
San Bernardino County elementary schools with approved reopening plans got the green light to open their doors Monday, Feb. 22. Decisions on whether to reopen are up to each school district.