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56 San Diego County schools apply for waiver to reopen in-person

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Posted at 3:34 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 11:24:21-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego County needs to stay off the state watch list for two weeks straight for most schools to reopen in-person. But, some schools won’t have to wait that long.

As of Friday afternoon, 56 elementary schools applied for a waiver through the county health department. If approved, it would allow them to bring students back on campus regardless of our status on the state watch list.

The waiver is only open to schools serving K-6 students. Once applications are reviewed by the county they’ll be sent to Sacramento.

“The state can give input or guidance,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “If we don’t hear back in three days then those will be approved.”

Mt. Helix Academy in La Mesa submitted their application this week.

“I’m hoping to hear back from the state and the county by next week.” Said Director, Mike Collins. “Our plan is to welcome students back on campus on Monday August 31st when we’re ready for those kids.”

The school has been open for summer programs where they implemented new safety measures like masks, frequent cleaning, and social distancing.

“I saw all the students had their masks on and I made a big deal, ‘Everyone has their masks on! We’re so happy!’” said Collins. “We really try to encourage our students.”

For the wavier to get approved the county reviews each applicant’s proposed safety plan. They’re looking for things like having adequate personal protective equipment and if students can be kept in small groups.

County Montessori School in Poway has been fine-tuning their safety measures through their summer programs.

They took advantage of the waiver process right away.

“The application became available last Friday night and we applied Monday,” said Head of School, Adela Corrales. “If our waiver comes through next week we’re prepared to open on site on August 24th”

The county told ABC 10News they were still reviewing applications late Friday afternoon and had not sent any to the state for approval yet.