Los Angeles County enters COVID-19 red tier

Natalie Cosgrove

Los Angeles County entered the California-enforced Red Tier on Monday, meaning COVID-19 safety protocols for the county will loosen. Indoor dining, museums and gyms are permitted to open with proper precautions taken. In terms of schools, they may open fully for in-person instruction, abiding to LA County Health School re-opening protocols, according to the LA County Government. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), there is now a three-foot distance recommendation for students in elementary schools.

Head of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Ari Engelberg ’89 said there are significant differences between the Purple Tier (which the city was recently in)  and the Red Tier, the greatest one being the fact that the school is allowed to set the limitations for students in a singular cohort, now referred to as a “stable group.” The stable groups will be entire grade levels.

The move to the red tier slightly eases COVID-19 safety guidelines

“I hope that the virus numbers continue to go down and then our community can be able to stay virus-free, which will allow for more and more opportunities for things to happen on campus,” Engelberg said. “Specifically we want to see students being able to spend more time on campus, more freely, with more of their friends and peers and to be able to also interact with their teachers who are back on campus teaching live. That is not going to happen all on day one, but that is what we hope for and that is what we hope for, and I think we are on track for some semblance of that to happen during the Springtime.”

Head Prefect Cleo Maloney ’21 said Prefect Council is planning events for seniors toward the end of the school year to make up for lost time. She said she is very enthusiastic about school reopening and sees regulations changing in the coming months.

“I think it is great that the school is reopening, and I appreciate how careful the school is being, in terms of getting everyone tested and having students wear KN95 masks,” Maloney said. “I think that’s really reassuring from a health standpoint, but I also think that building community in this time is really important, even though it is challenging because we are all separated from each other. Whatever time we can have together is really meaningful and a time that definitely should not be wasted.”

The change in tiers was mentioned in President Rick Commons’ recent school-wide email

President Rick Commons sent an all-school email regarding the recent changes in regulations. The email included information about school closure in the week directly following Spring break, re-starting the bus service free of charge, COVID testing clinics and more about the safety of the campus. The new safety protocols include the same social distance and mask-wearing policies, but more leeway when it comes to the cohort-system. 

“In a significant step forward, students will be allowed to move freely around campus, mingling with one another and attending classes in their normal classrooms with other students who are enrolled in the same classes,” Commons said. “In many cases, teachers will also be present in the classrooms, allowing for in-person instruction for the first time this school year.”