OC School Board Opens In-Person Classes This Fall Without Masks Or Social Distancing

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Protesters on both sides of the mask debate confronted each other outside the Orange County Department of Education office on Monday, July 13, 2020, before a meeting of the Orange County Board of Education. The Board voted 4-1 in support of a report that repudiates face masks and social distancing. The elected board, however, has no power to dictate to Orange County's 27 school districts. (OCHawk)

On Monday evening, The Orange County Board of Education voted to allow schools to reopen beginning in the Fall with in-person instruction.

Teachers and students will be able to attend classes without face coverings and can opt out of social distancing.

A group of parents and teachers gathered outside of the meeting to protest the idea of children returning to school without safety precautions.

Last month, the Board of Education held a meeting with experts who concluded that “social distancing of children and reduction of classroom size and census may be considered, but not vital to implement for school-aged children.”

The experts recommended “good hygiene with frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer,” as well as temperature checks and the sanitization of classrooms, administrative offices and busses.

If a school district “is unable or unwilling to reopen schools in a manner that resumes a typical classroom environment and school atmosphere, parents should be allowed to send their children to another school district or charter school that will provide that preferred education,” the experts wrote.

The recommendation also stated that teachers are more at risk of getting sick from another adult staffer or teacher than they are from the children.

Al Mijares, Orange County superintendent of schools, said the guidelines recommendations stand in contrast with guidelines backed by Orange County Department of Education.

The board’s “recommendations are not binding,” Mijares said in a statement.

“Locally elected school boards and superintendents will approve and implement plans specific to their districts based on the needs of their schools and communities,” Mijares said.

This is all while Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner announced that all the district’s campuses will remain closed when classes resume in August.

He says the “health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise.”

 

Author: Mallory Sullivan

Mallory Sullivan has worked for Los Al TV for nearly five years. She's a 2014 Los Alamitos High School graduate who specializes in local news for Los Angeles and Orange County. At Los Al TV, she wrote and anchored “Community Calendar”, the area’s only weekly newscast. One of her favorite things about working for Los Al TV is covering the Seal Beach Summer Concert Series. Mallory is currently working at CBS Los Angeles as a Digital Producer.

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