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School Reopening Remains Hot Topic in Manhattan Beach

Oct 29, 2020 12:42PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
School reopening remains a subject of heated debate in Manhattan Beach, as parents gathered for a small rally on Wednesday, and the school PTAs put out a Q-and-A resource sheet aimed at answering questions about school reopenings.

Parent Rally Outside Mira Costa

A group of about 30 parents gathered at MIra Costa High School on Wednesday afternoon to protest the school closures.

Two surprise guests at the rally included MBUSD Superintendent Mike Matthews and Mira Costa Principal Ben Dale. Matthews talked with parents and answered questions from the group. 

The group also heard from Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District parent Matthew Brach. Brach is a lead plaintiff on Brach vs. Newsom, a lawsuit filed in July against California Governor Gavin Newsom that challenges school closures.

Brach urged parents to press the case for school reopenings at the county supervisor level. "You can't really lobby the Department of Public Health," he noted.

The group marched down to the corner of Artesia and Peck Ave., where they waved signs and flags as cars on the street honked in support.

PTA Offers Resources

Meanwhile the Manhattan Beach Council of PTAs began distributing a flyer with information and points of contact about school reopening (see PDF below).

The document ("Got School Reopening Questions? Get Answers!") references MBUSD's Facts vs. Rumors page and its Reopening Schools page. 

For questions about COVID restrictions and school reopenings, it offers contact information for Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, and California Governor Gavin Newsom.

For questions about MBUSD policies, it gives the email addresses for all of the MBUSD board members.

Wysh Weinstein, president of the Manhattan Beach PTA District Advisory Council (DAC) said that all of the school PTAs worked to put the document together. "PTA is working hard to create a strong partnership and to steer energy into the right places," she said.

Waiver Statuses

Currently, Los Angeles County is offering waivers to open K-2 programs on a hybrid basis to 30 elementary schools per week. 

The Manhattan Beach Unified School District submitted waiver applications for K-2 programs at all five of its elementary schools last week.

Both American Martyrs School and Manhattan Academy this week received waivers from Los Angeles County to open their K-2 programs on a hybrid basis.

Separate from the K-2 waiver process, the schools are looking ahead to when L.A. County moves from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier to allow elementary school reopenings. (To begin reopenings, the county must stay below 7.0 cases per 100,000 for at least two weeks to move into the Red Tier, and then stay at that rate for another two weeks before elementary schools may begin reopening). When that milestone is reached, the county is expected to open up elementary schools (K-5) for hybrid in-person learning.

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