Back-to-school in a unique way

STUDENTS will be returning to classes this week and next in Garden Grove, Westminster and Huntington Beach districts, but not in person yet. And no running in the halls! (Shutterstock).

It’s back to school time for tens of thousands of students in the West Orange County area, but it’ll be the start of a school year unlike any other.

The coronavirus pandemic has overturned traditional schedules and practices, and changes in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 will doubtless lead to shifts in the highly tentative plans made by public school systems in Orange County. So far, most instruction is planned to be “virtual” or some hybrid of distance and in-person teaching.

On Sunday, Orange County went off the state’s corona watch list. If conditions and trends stay positive, schools could open for in-person instruction sometime in the next month or two.  Elementary campuses in the Los Alamitos district have already receive permission to re-open.

However, if indications turn the other way, a return to classroom teaching could be delayed indefinitely.

Here’s the lineup of school reopening for area students.

  • Garden Grove Unified School District: Monday, Aug. 24 (today).
  • Huntington Beach Union High School District: Wednesday, Sept. 2.
  • Huntington Beach City School District: Thursday, Sept. 10.
  • Ocean View School District: Wednesday, Sept. 9.
  • Westminster School District: Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The Orange Unified School District, which serves a sliver of Garden Grove east of Haster Street, began instruction on Aug. 19.

Stanton is served by a variety of districts. The Magnolia School District will start on Monday, Aug. 31. The Savanna School District started on Aug. 17.

Once authorized by the state, decisions on when and how to re-open are left to the individual school district.  When schools do re-open they will likely operate with some new procedures. Here’s what planned by the Ocean View School District:

  • Upon arrival, each student will have his or her temperature taken;
  • Students and staff members will be required to wear masks or face shields;
  • Access to the campuses by parents and visitors will be limited;
  • School sites will designate routes for entry and exit to limit direct contact with others;
  • Signs will be posted across campuses to remind students and staff to socially distance and wash hands.
  • Hand-washing stations, touch-free safety equipment, student desk partitions, etc. may be available and in use.

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