Some Santa Clarita-Area 1st- and 2nd-Graders Returning to School Today

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Some first- and second-graders are expected to return to school for on-campus learning today in the Saugus Union School District in the Santa Clarita Valley after almost a year of virtual classes.

Last Thursday, the district's governing board approved returning students enrolled in the hybrid learning program to in-person learning.

“We want to thank everyone for their patience, support and understanding during what has been a very long and difficult year,'' the district said on its website.

“SUSD leadership is working to finalize the safety protocols and prepare their school site communities for this return.''

Students enrolled in the Saugus Digital Learning Academy (SDLA) will continue with their assigned classroom teacher, assigned schedule and continue with digital learning for the remainder of the schools year as agreed to during enrollment in July.

Monday, first- and second-graders are set to return. Thursday, kindergarten and TK pupils enrolled in the hybrid program can return, while grades 3 and 4 will return March 1, and grades 5 and 6 on March 4, according to the district.

Students will be on a four-day, hybrid schedule and be divided into morning and afternoon sessions of about 2 1/2 hours.

Schools got the option of returning to at least some form of in-person learning last week, after the county's rate of new COVID-19 infections dropped below the state's threshold for reopening campuses for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

But campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District -- the largest of about 80 school districts in the county -- will likely remain closed for now, as the district's teachers' union demands vaccinations before returning.

School districts in the county will decide individually whether to actually open campuses for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Those that do welcome students back need to meet a series of safety protocols -- such as limited class sizes and provision of protective equipment - - while also continuing to offer a distance learning option to accommodate families wary of sending their children to in-person classes.

In-person instruction has been unavailable to the vast majority of the roughly 1.5 million students in public and private schools countywide since March 2020, but the state permits elementary schools to reopen as soon as counties reach an adjusted average new daily case rate of 25 per 100,000 residents.

L.A. County met that threshold Tuesday, when new state figures put the county's case average at 20 per 100,000 residents.

In-person classes cannot resume for grades seven through 12 until the county's rate of new COVID cases falls to seven per 100,000 residents.

Photo: Getty Images

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