PVUSD: County purple tier COVID-19 status delays plans for in-person instruction return

With the state regressing Riverside County back from the red (“substantial) to the most restrictive “widespread” (purple) COVID-19 risk level tier, schools are feeling the impact.

“Riverside County returned to the most-restrictive purple tier for the state’s COVID-19 school reopening requirements. For PVUSD (Palo Verde Unified School District), this means that our plans for in-person instruction for students have been delayed. For TK-6 grade students, schools will be applying for a waiver with the local Riverside County Public Health and California Public Health Department,” stated PVUSD. “The waiver process has many requirements and we will be working on meeting the requirements as part of the application process. We will keep our stakeholders informed regarding our progress.”

As of Oct. 23, Riverside University Health System – Public Health’s (RUHS-PH) COVID-19 waiver status show Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have approved 29 (K-6) schools to resume according in-person instruction.

“For students in grades 7-12, in-person instruction cannot occur until Riverside County moves from the purple tier to the red tier and this can take, at the very least, 5-6 weeks. For PVHS students, the first semester will be 100% online, distance learning,” stated PVUSD. “For PVUSD Head Start Preschool, in-person instruction plans can proceed since preschools are exempt from the state’s tier-system. All the health and safety guidelines must still take place with a modified in-person instructional day.”

On Oct. 20, PVUSD Superintendent Tracie Kern also iterated to the Board of Trustees the district’s ongoing re-opening planning and encompassing outlook – further underlining the impact statewide mandates and guidelines play in moving accordingly forward.

“PVUSD is working on plans for in-person instruction options, even though we are in the most-restrictive purple tier. We will continue to work towards applying for a TK-6 grade waiver and the reopening plans for grades 7-8 and for PVHS (Palo Verde High School). Our diligent planning will help us to be ready for when our county moves out of the most restrictive tier,” stated PVUSD. “Plans are underway for a possible reopening of Head Start Preschool in November with a shortened school day schedule. Parents/Guardians will have an option to remain in 100% distance learning or choose a modified in-person schedule.”

Kern noted the projected timeline for possible hybrid-instruction and option/choice for PVHS is currently estimated as January 2021.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of students, staff and families. Our second priority is to have stability and continuity of educational services as we offer learning options for students and their families,” stated PVUSD. “Parents/Guardians will be able to choose either 100% distance learning or in-person, hybrid instruction (when we are allowed to offer in-person instruction). We will continue to provide updates of our progress and we appreciate our PVUSD community.”

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