Bay Area high school suspends on-campus learning after reports of parties, sleepovers
Citing “disturbing” reports of sleepovers and at least one large party, a Bay Area private high school has suspended on-campus learning for two weeks.
Marin Catholic School Principal Chris Valdez said in a statement that several sources had reported the gatherings, which are considered breaches of the school’s guidelines, to the school’s leadership team.
“We cannot tolerate behavior outside of school that places our faculty, staff and students at increased risk of COVID transmission or exposure,” Valdez said, adding that he hoped the closure would send a “clear message to our entire community that our family’s decisions outside of school have a significant impact on all of us.”
The school had been operating under a “hybrid” model that combined face-to-face instruction with online learning. The suspension will last through Nov. 2 and includes the cancellation of extracurricular activities and athletic practices.
Marin Catholic has not reported a surge in infection from the gatherings but said it will be expanding COVID testing for students and faculty. The county reported its 100th coronavirus death this week.
“I am very sorry that we have found ourselves in this situation,” Valdez said. “All of us, faculty and staff alike, are making sacrifices in our personal lives in order to make in-person learning happen for our families.”
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County announced Wednesday that it will be increasing the capacity of students allowed on school campuses from 10% to 25%, with a focus on high-needs students who rely on on-site support systems.
The decision comes despite the fact that the county is in the “purple tier” of the state’s four-tier reopening plan, which indicates the highest widespread risk of infection.
As of this week, L.A.'s case rate is at 10.1 new COVID-19 cases a day for every 100,000 residents — higher than the threshold required to move down from the state’s most restrictive tier into the red tier. Under the state’s reopening system, campuses can reopen for widespread in-person instruction only after a county spends 14 days in the red tier, although local health authorities can impose further restrictions.
But a waiver policy introduced Thursday dropped requirements for schools to provide a letter of support from employee unions as part of the application process, potentially reopening L.A.'s classrooms to thousands of children.
The changes come amid mounting evidence that students are faring poorly in online learning.
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