Manhattan Beach Schools Poised to Delay In-Person Reopening Until Feb. 1Jan 10, 2021 07:18PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Unified Public School District is poised to delay the return of its in-person cohorts until February 1, Superintendent Mike Matthews announced on Sunday night.
The expected move follows a recommendation from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) that schools delay in-person re-opening until February 1, due to the massive surge of COVID-19 cases in L.A. County.
"In all of my recommendations, whether they have been related to child care, high needs hybrid, athletics, or TK-2 instruction, I have followed DPH’s guidance," wrote Matthews in an email to parents. "Though Thursday’s announcement and Friday’s letter are not orders, I will to continue to heed DPH’s advice."
Previously, the MBUSD board had met on December 31 to approve a delay of in-person return to school until January 13.
Under the terms announced on Sunday night:
- MBUSD's TK-2 hybrid, athletic conditioning, and high needs hybrid cohorts will be virtual on Wednesday, January 13.
- At the MBUSD board meeting on January 13, Matthews will recommend to the MBUSD board that students receiving special education services in the preschool and Special Day Class (SDC) programs return to hybrid instruction on Tuesday, January 19, and that TK-2 hybrid, athletic conditioning, and other high needs hybrid cohorts remain virtual until Monday, February 1. The MBUSD board meets at 5:00 p.m., and this item is on the agenda for their review.
- Child care programs, including preschool and EDP, will continue to meet in-person.
- The Student Services department will be in touch with parents of children in the high-needs hybrid early next week.
"Whether we like it or not, right now we live in the global epicenter of COVID-19, and those of us who live in this epicenter are facing extremely difficult decisions," wrote Matthews. "We will send out information informing you of the board’s direction after Wednesday’s meeting, and as always, I will keep you posted."
Cases on the Rise
Matthews noted that since the beginning of the year, two elementary-aged childcare cohorts are not in school due to two cases of COVID in those classrooms. While there is no evidence of spread so far, which has been the case in all of the district's classrooms, he said, those two incidents bring the case total to 34 since MBUSD returned to campus in person on September 16.
Manhattan Beach has seen 143 new COVID-19 cases since the school board last met on December 31. The cumulative total of COVID cases jumped from 787 cases on December 31 to 930 on January 10, an average of 14.3 new cases per day.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County has surpassed 920,000 COVID-19 cases and 12,000 deaths.