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Lucerne Valley Elementary Obtains Waiver to Open to In-Person Instruction

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Superintendent Peter Livingston sets August 20th as start date for “hybrid plan” as county, state respond quickly to Lucerne Valley’s waiver request.
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Superintendent Peter Livingston sets August 20th as start date for “hybrid plan” as county, state respond quickly to Lucerne Valley’s waiver request.

LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. (August 13, 2020) — The Lucerne Valley Unified School District is the first school district in San Bernardino County to obtain a waiver to open its elementary school to in-person instruction after the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health approved the waiver on Wednesday.

“We are approved as of today,” Superintendent Peter Livingston said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re the first in the county, and I believe we’re one of the first in the state. We’re really excited!”

The school district received the approval letter on August 12th from San Bernardino County’s Interim Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. She cited Lucerne Valley’s COVID-19 low community case rate of only 56.8 per 100,000 people compared to the county’s more than three times higher overall rate of about 200 per 100,000 and the district’s comprehensive School Reopening Plan for the approval. Lucerne Valley Unified’s plan contains “all required elements to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the school setting,” she said.

Lucerne Valley’s community case rate “is below the recommended threshold set by the state for considering an elementary school waiver for opening in-person instruction,” she added.

The county’s Department of Health sent its review of the LVUSD waiver application to the California Department of Public Health, which “concurred with our recommendation and notified us on August 12 that we may issue an approval to reopen your Elementary School for in-person instruction,” Dr. Gustafson wrote.

Lucerne Valley Elementary School parents will have the choice to select either full-time virtual distance learning or the hybrid model of both distance learning and in-school instruction. The hybrid plan has two days of in-school instruction with distance learning on the other days, according to Mr. Livingston.

“Our plan will be to reopen on August 20. This allows us time to fully communicate with all stakeholders.”

Lucerne Valley Elementary School Principal Ricky Anderson shared Livingston’s excitement about opening up to in-person instruction for those who choose it.

“It was great news hearing that we could open our elementary school on a hybrid model based on the data and safety precautions provided by the San Bernardino County Public Health Department,” Mr. Anderson said. “It truly has been a collective effort by all our students, families, administration, classified, and certificated employees to ensure a safe return for our students.” Moreover, the principal added, “if it wasn’t for the dedication and long hours put in by our Superintendent Peter Livingston and our tremendous school board, none of this would have been possible.”

As the school gears up for the August 20th hybrid launch the staff is making sure that the safeguards and procedures are fine-tuned. “We are continuing to work closely with our superintendent and the San Bernardino County Public Health department to ensure a safe learning environment for our students,” Mr. Anderson said.

Credit also goes to the community’s families for showing their support for getting students back in the classroom, he added.

“It truly says something about our town and how they value the importance of education and getting our kids safely back in school.”

Superintendent Peter Livingston talked about Lucerne Valley Elementary School receiving approval to reopen to in-person learning in a video on YouTube.

For more information on the Lucerne Valley USD, visit www.lucernevalleyusd.org or www.facebook.com/LucerneValleyUSD/

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