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By Collin Breaux

UPDATE: Friday, Aug. 28, 4:11 p.m.—In a tweet from the Orange County Health Care Agency on Friday, Dr. Clayton Chau, the county health officer, said “The State has confirmed this afternoon that as long as Orange County continues trending in a positive way, K-12 schools can reopen in-person instruction as of (Sept. 8).”

UPDATE: Friday, Aug. 28, 3:30 p.m.—Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) announced their phased campus reopening plan before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a revised reopening plan that replaces the state’s coronavirus monitoring list. CUSD Spokesperson Ryan Burris said CUSD officials “do not know how this new criteria impacts the Capistrano Unified reopening schools timeline” and the district “is working with contacts in Sacramento, the Orange County Department of Education, and the Orange County Healthcare Agency to identify impacts” and “hopes to have clarity early next week.”

Below is the initial version of the story published Friday, Aug. 28 at 1:24 p.m.

With Orange County off the state’s coronavirus monitoring list, the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees is expected to vote at an upcoming special meeting on a timetable for when students can return to campus, CUSD announced Friday, Aug. 28.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 2, when trustees are slated to discuss the timetable and vote on approving it. Proposed timetables for campuses reopening are Sept. 14 for special education programs and services; Sept. 21 for elementary students; and Sept. 29 for high school students.

“The district’s priority is to reopen campuses safely for their 47,000 students and 5,000 staff and teachers, and to minimize any chance of future disruption,” district spokesperson Ryan Burris said in a statement. “To do so, district officials are recommending a phased-in opening that would begin September 14, 2020.”

A mandate previously issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom stipulated campuses can only open for in-person instruction when their county is off the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Orange County came off that list on Sunday, Aug. 23.

The CUSD campus reopenings would be under guidelines set out in a flexible reopening plan the Board of Trustees previously approved before Newsom’s mandate.

Under the plan, students were able to pick the option of returning to campus when allowed to do so or continuing with virtual learning.

Students and staff returning to campus will be required to abide by health guidelines, including wearing face masks or coverings and practicing social distancing.

Students enrolled in all online learning can remain in the virtual learning program, CUSD said.

The board will meet on Sept. 2 with the open session scheduled for 7 p.m.

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