Bay Area elementary school applies for in-person instruction waiver

With all of the Bay Area on the COVID-19 watch list, elementary schools hoping to offer in-person instruction will require a waiver.

KTVU talked to Santa Clara County officials and some schools about how the process there will work, and the importance of making it fair.
It involves an application, a county liaison, and a review process.
And officials say they're hoping both public and private schools will benefit.

At the Bowman School in Palo Alto, administrators say, they're ready for whatever the school year may bring.
"I'm planning currently four different streams of plans for the fall and able to execute on any one of them at any given time," says Mary Beth Ricks, head of school at Bowman.
That includes applying for a waiver from Santa Clara County that would allow for in-person instruction.

Bowman, a private school, is one of dozens that have already initiated the process.
"I don't know the rules about the waiver. I do know I'm on a list to get a liason and once I'm assigned a liason, I will be told the next steps," says Ricks.
The process, announced by the Governor last week, applies only to elementary schools, and will be managed on a county level by local health departments.
Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith is hopeful many of those waivers will be granted.
"We think that's a very good idea and we're anxious to see those applications," says Smith.
But there are still questions: will some schools be more able to meet the strict requirements than others.
San Jose Unified has already said none of their elementary schools are even applying.
"We're worried that private schools and those schools on the west side which have more resources, will be able to open more quickly, whereas others will have sort of a second class education," says Smith.
Smith says they're working hard with the office of education to make sure that doesn't happen.
Still the process is in its early days and parents, labor groups, and public health officials will all have a say.
"So I am pretty optimistic. The waiver makes me happier," says Ricks.
At Bowman, they're ready for in person learning. But they're prepared for online classes too.
She says, "With a plan you're always safe, right?"

No word on how long the waiver process will take. But schools will apparently be notified by mail if they receive one.