WSD creates new opening criteria

WESTMINSTER SCHOOL DISTRICT headquarters (OC Tribune photo).

After a marathon meeting which lasted well past midnight, the Westminster School District Board of Trustees decided to change its plans for reopening of the systems’ campuses.

Originally, the WSD was pointing toward reopening for its elementary and middle school students on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

After hearing  – via Zoom – comments from many parents and teachers, the board voted 4-1 (with President Jeremy Khalaf casting the dissenting vote) to reopen the campuses for 100 percent in-person instruction one week after a weighted average of coronavirus test positivity rates in the four zip codes where the WSD has campuses reaches 8 percent or lower. That would bring the area into the state-defined “red” tier (substantial) from its present status of “purple” (widespread).

According to Van Dam, public relations specialist for the WSD, the rates in those zip codes now range from 10.7 to 15.9.

Trends in positivity, new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and intensive case use are all moving in encouraging directions according to reports from the Orange County Health Care Agency, but there are no reliable ways to predict when the goal will be reached.

The meeting started at 7 p.m. on Thursday and did not adjourn until 12:45 a.m. Friday.

Westminster School District is a K-8 system serving most of Westminster and portions of adjacent cities.

Note to readers: Orange County Health Care Agency will not be posting coronavirus statistics today (Friday) because of the observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

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