WOODLAND (CBS13) — As many schools battle with distance learning, others are applying for waivers that allow them to open for in-person instruction.
It’s an exception built into the governor’s reopening plan. On Thursday, Woodland Christian School managed to meet the requirements. The school will open for kindergarten through sixth grade next week with a waiver from the county. This waiver is available to both public and private schools.
Since Yolo County has been on the state’s watchlist since July 8 and was placed in the widespread purple tier after California moved to the new Blueprint For A Safer Economy on Aug. 31, county officials said they had to go through an extensive waiver process to be allowed to reopen in-person instruction at the school.
“It’s nothing easy. It’s nothing any school is used to in our county, but it is something we all have to adapt to,” said Matt Diehl, administrator at Woodland Christian School.
Diehl said staff started this process back in July. Class sizes were already small enough to successfully socially distance.
“Everything is four to six feet of distancing in the classrooms, outside the classrooms,” Diehl said.
You’ll find lunch tables outside. And when the weather allows, maybe even some classes. Kids are encouraged to wash hands frequently using wash stands the school staff built themselves.
Teachers are worried about their young students feeling isolated are ready to have them back.
“We’ve been trying to have that community online, but it’s not quite the same thing as being with your teacher,” said Kyra Espinoza, a teacher at Woodland Christian School.
All of this comes at an expense that’s tough to afford. Custodial costs are high. The principal at Woodland Christian School is sanitizing classrooms himself as a legal battle for state grant money for cleaning costs persists.
“There could be a disparity of tens of thousands of dollars for what schools are being given to make sure their school is equipped,” Diehl said.
There are six other schools in Yolo County that have applied for this waiver but are still waiting on approval. In Sacramento County, 11 schools have applied but none are approved yet.