Lower grades back on RB campuses, high school contact sports to resume

Attending the initial day of teacher inoculations, coordinated by the Beach Cities health District at AdventurePlex in Manhattan Beach on Wednesday were (left to right) Hermosa Beach Mayor Justin Massey, Redondo Beach CDC teacher Sarai Cuevas, BCHD CEO Tom Bakaly, Redondo Beach Firefighter Tyler Wade, Manhattan Beach Councilman Joe Franklin. Manhattan Beach Mayor Suzanne Hadley, Redondo Schools Superintendent Steven Keller, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Hawthorne Schools Superintendent Susan Morgan, Hawthorne Schools Safety Officer Jose Medina, BCHD Chief Medical Officer William Kim, Redondo Beach Fire Division Chief Issac Yang, Hermosa Beach Emergency Manager Brandy Villanueva, and Hermosa Beach City Manager Suja Lowenthal. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Donald Morrison

Redondo Unified fourth and fifth graders were scheduled to return to their classrooms yesterday and today, Wednesday,March 3, and Thursday,March 4, Superintendent Steven Keller reported to the school board, a week ago Tuesday.

Third graders returned to their classrooms on Wed., Feb. 24. 

Sixth graders are expected to return to campus on March 8. However, Superintendent Keller said, the district had yet to finalize a schedule for the sixth graders because of complications resulting from a county health department requirement that limits teachers to teaching not more than two groups of students a day.

“We’re in the process of working alongside our teachers union and middle school teams to finalize an interim model for our families,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Susan Wildes said.

Sixth graders will attend the middle school campus for the first time, creating a new set of challenges as they attempt to find their way around a new, for them, school. 

“Our goal is to provide them with two on-campus learning opportunities,” Dr. Wildes said. “Allowing them to become familiar with the campus and where the restrooms are, as well as to experience socialization with their peers.”

The promise of teacher vaccinations did not allay some parents’ concerns about the safety of students and teachers returning to campus. 

“I’m a parent of an RBUSD student and the spouse of an RBUSD employee,” read an anonymous comment submitted to the board during the meeting. “It is irresponsible to open school instruction this year. It’s cruel and unethical.”

Redondo Union High contact sports may also resume in the coming weeks, RBUSD Athletic Director Joseph Boardwine told the board at the meeting. Among the sports he mentioned were soccer, lacrosse, water polo, football, baseball, tennis, and softball, 

“We think we should try and offer the full breadth of opportunities the county will allow in a safe way,” Boardwine said. “And we’ll be looking to find like-minded competition in the area.”

Last Tuesday, LA County announced it was below the threshold of 14 per 100,000 residents testing positive for COVID-19 that is required for school contact sports to resume. Until that announcement, only noncontact sports, such as golf, swimming and track and field, were permitted in the RBUSD.

Boardwine said there would be COVID-19 testing of football and water polo players.

“We’d like, if possible, to be in alignment with the other schools and leagues,” Boardwine said. “But first and foremost we should take care of the students.”

On Saturday, Redondo Union High hosted a dual cross country meet with Mira Costa High School. Spectators were not allowed on campus, but were able to view the races from neighboring streets. The course ran along the perimeter of the campus. It started and finished on the track that circles the football field. 

The lower grades’ return to classrooms coincided this week with teachers being offered vaccinations at AdventurePlex in Redondo Beach, through a program being administered by the Beach Cities Health District. The vaccinations were to be administered Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 

A priority list for the district’s roughly 1,200 students, reviewed by the school board at its last Tuesday, indicated lower grade teachers students will be the first to receive the vaccinations. High school teachers are near the last on the prioritized list. ER



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