Third graders in Redondo could return to campus by end of month

by Donald Morrison

Redondo Beach Unified School District third graders could return to school in two groups, as soon as Wednesday, Feb. 24 and Thursday, Feb. 25, under a plan reviewed by the school board at its Tuesday, Feb. 9 meeting.

Redondo students in transitional kindergarten through second grade returned to school in two groups on Monday, Feb. 2 and Wednesday, Feb. 4.

“The first week of in-person instruction has been full of eye smiles, laughter and a sense of community, unlike any other year,” said Birney Elementary Principal Mira Baskaron in a Zoom comment posted during the meeting. 

“We are all smiles at Jefferson… under our masks.” added Jefferson Principal Jeff Winckler. 

According to County reopening protocols for K-12 Schools, schools that received a waiver to bring back TK through second grade students can also bring back up to 25 percent of their total school population, in grades three and higher. 

Bringing back third graders under the guidelines is possible because of their relatively small class sizes. Classrooms can only have 12 to 14 students at a time. Most fourth and fifth grade classes have more than 30 students. 

“We feel confident that fourth and fifth grade can follow suit soon, as Covid-19 numbers in Los Angeles County continue on a downward trend,” according to the school board. 

Superintendent Dr. Steven Keller said the district will abide by County health guidelines. 

“Anything that has to do with COVID, we follow the LA County Department of Health guidelines,” Dr. Keller said. “We don’t follow the grey, we don’t wing it. We’ve had parents ask us to follow the grey a bit more, but we’re following the script and we just want to remind people to respect that.”

Vaccines coming to BCHD

Dr. Keller also said he received a call from Tom Bakaly, CEO of the Beach Cities Health District, who said vaccines will soon be coming to the health district, which should increase access for teachers in the RBUSD. 

“Beach Cities Health District is going to be an actual facilitator of this vaccine process and we couldn’t be more excited,” Dr. Keller said. “So we sent a survey to staff just to find out where they’re at with taking the vaccine. We want to give the BCHD the best and most accurate information.”

Race and Equity Committee

Dr. Darin Earley, Director of the Loyola Marymount University Family of Schools, will be the guest speaker at the March 17 meeting of the school district’s Race and Equity Committee. 

The Race and Equity Committee had their first meeting on October 7, 2020. Since then, they’ve created four subcommittees to address staff training, hiring practices, curriculum and campus culture.

“We’re district wide right now,” said Marvin Brown, assistant principal at RUHS. “But at the end of this year we’re going to separate into sites, so each school will have a committee that actually takes the lead.”

Community sharing and losses

Also on Tuesday, the School Board learned the district has lost an estimated $500,000 in facilities rental revenue since the start of the pandemic, according to a staff report

Before the pandemic, the school district’s auditoriums, fields, aquatic center, gyms and tennis courts were rented out to sports league’s, vote centers, scout troops, filming and other events.

With the exception of the upper tennis courts at Redondo Union High School and the Alta Vista park fields, all RBUSD facilities have been closed to the community since March, 2020.ER

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Written by: Donald Morrison

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