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Staff report

Two private schools in San Juan Capistrano were among numerous schools recently given waivers for in-person instruction for elementary grades, according to OC Health Care Agency.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and Fairmont Schools were reportedly given waivers for transitional/junior kindergarten through sixth grade. Campuses in Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) have been closed to in-person instruction since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fairmont Schools, which has started a new San Juan Capistrano school at the former Saddleback Valley Christian campus on Oso Road, recently announced in a press release they had applied for a waiver.

After OC Health Care Agency’s announcement, Fairmont Schools issued a press release stating they were granted a waiver to reopen classrooms to students through sixth grade, with instruction beginning on Aug. 26.

“The fact that our waiver application was granted is a testament to the rigorous protocols that we have put in place to protect the safety of our students and staff,” said David Jackson, Fairmont’s chairman. “Our reopening task force has been working around the clock since the
early stages of the pandemic, developing a comprehensive plan which meets and in many cases exceeds federal, state and local requirements.”

Fairmont Schools is also offering remote learning for families who choose to remain at home and will continue to do so for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Fairmont preschools, which fall under the childcare provider guidelines, began welcoming students back to campus on Aug. 17, the press release said.

CUSD schools began the 2020-21 school year on Tuesday with continued online learning per a mandate from Gov. Gavin Newsom stipulating that 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 has remained on the watch list in recent weeks, though some coronavirus-related statistics have recently been trending downward.

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