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In-person instruction open for select groups only

In-person classroom instruction for the general public remains dependent on the rise or fall of positive COVID-19 test results, but Riverside Unified School District has operated what they call “small cohorts” since last December.

In this evening’s Board of Education meeting, RUSD board members will decide whether or not to open another branch of those cohorts for children with mild or moderate disabilities in preschool and elementary levels. If the decision is approved, those students will be able to attend in-person instruction beginning on the 16th.

Cohorts for preschool-to-adult aged students with moderate and severe disabilities opened in early December.

In a board meeting on January 21st, Superintendent David Hansen said the board is eager to open classrooms for the total 26,000 Riverside students who specified they desire in-person learning, but positive COVID-19 cases are still too high.

In order for the general public to return to the classroom, California state officials set the amount of cases counties must reach at 25 per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of eight percent, the board’s presentation showed on the 21st.

Riverside University Health System reported 70 new cases per 100,000 in the county with a positivity rate of 16 percent as of yesterday.

“Our governor and our local public officials have not allowed us to get those 26,000 kids back in session,” Hansen said at the January meeting. Small cohorts are allowed by the state, he continued. “They defined [small cohorts] for kids who are designated as homeless, our foster youth and our kids with special needs.”

Representatives with the RUSD board of education were unable to be reached for comment yesterday.

The board meeting’s open session begins at 5:30 p.m.