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Private school in Spring Valley to reopen with in-person learning

Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 22:03:50-04

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - Despite Governor Gavin Newsom's orders, students at a private school in Spring Valley are scheduled to return to class in a few weeks.

When Heartland Christian Homeschool Center begins its school year on Sept. 1, it will include in-school learning. Classified as a private school, the pre-kindergarten-to-12th grade school combines homeschooling with several days of in-person instruction every week.

The plans come despite the governor’s orders banning in-school classes for counties still on the watch list. Right now, San Diego County remains on that list.

Principal Lynda Hansen told ABC 10news, it's "important" for kids to be back in class, adding her school is "following all CDC guidelines."

The state is allowing elementary schools to apply for waivers to the COVID-19 orders. Hansen says she'll apply for the waiver, but it likely won't affect her decision to open.

The school’s COVID-19 section does list its precautions, including stepped-up disinfecting, encouraging social distancing, and masks for staff when close to students. Masks will not be mandatory for students.

The mask issue is a point of concern for students at another private school with similar plans. Last week, ABC 10News reported on Foothills Christian Middle School in El Cajon.

A letter sent to parents spelled out reopening plans in September, including masks being optional. That led to frustration for parents who emailed ABC 10News. The school cited a lack of evidence that masks prevent COVID-19 transmission in children.

A county spokesperson says the have several tools for private schools out of compliance, beginning with education and on-site visits. Other options citations, cease-and-desist orders, and closure orders.

Heartland Christian Homeschool Center issued the following statement: "Heartland Christian Homeschool Center Inc. is fully committed to complying with every lawful requirement of federal, state, and local government. Also, Heartland is an alternative educational choice. It is our aim to provide support, enrichment, and records for homeschooling families. Unlike traditional schools, our students are not on campus full-time. Our expectation is that San Diego County will be off the Governor's watch list by the fall. We are planning accordingly, following the CDC guidelines for schools. Our parents have been overwhelmingly supportive ..."