SCV prepares for small groups of students to return to school campuses

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After the L.A. County Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that “small cohort” instruction would be allowed in a few weeks, the Santa Clarita Valley K-12 school districts began to prepare for English learners and special education students coming back to the classroom.

“At this time, we are monitoring the LADPH info, (and) we will resume on a staggered schedule as shared at an earlier board meeting once sites are able to physically return for instruction,” said Catherine Kawaguchi, superintendent of the Sulphur Springs Union School District. “At this time, we are working to bring in students who are students with special needs and English learners for assessments.”

The William S. Hart Union HIgh School District, Sulphur Springs district, Saugus Union School District, Newhall School District and the Castaic Union School District have all been told they would be allowed to return small groups of students to campus as early as Sept. 14.

“The L.A. County guideline, which is different from the California state guideline, is you can only have up to 10% of your enrollment on campus at any one time,” said Newhall Superintendent Jeff Pelzel. “So, if you had 600 kids, you could have 60 kids at any one time on campus. This does not include child care.”

The Newhall School District governing board decided during its last board meeting to bring back English learners and groups of students with individualized education plans.

Castaic Superintendent Steve Doyle said his district would be focusing on possibly bringing back a small cohort of special education students who are struggling with distance learning.

“Other than that we do not have a timeline for allowing our students to return to school,” said Doyle. “LADPH is not accepting any waivers at this time.”

The schools, in order to allow this to happen, will need to follow social distancing and proper health code rules, educators said on Friday.

“It is exciting to finally be able to consider having our students return to campus,” said Saugus Superintendent Colleen Hawkins in a letter sent to parents earlier this week. “The concept of small cohorts allows our organization the opportunity to adapt, slowly, to students being on campus while implementing all of the health and safety protocols.”

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