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L.A. County Health Officials Discuss School Reopening With Santa Clarita Superintendents

Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, including Dr. Barbara Ferrer, met with the superintendents of Santa Clarita’s five school districts over Zoom to discuss what reopening schools looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the superintendents from all five of the Santa Clarita Valley’s public school districts held a Zoom meeting with several prominent officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to discuss what safely reopening schools will look like for the upcoming school year.

From the Santa Clarita Valley, those in attendance included:

  • Mike Kuhlman, Superintendent for the William S. Hart Union High School District
  • Steve Doyle, Superintendent for the Castaic Union School District
  • Dr. Catherine Kawaguchi, Superintendent for the Sulphur Springs School District
  • Dr. Colleen Hawkins, Superintendent for the Saugus Union School District
  • Jeff Pelzel, Superintendent for the Newhall School District

Meanwhile, officials from the County Department of Public Health included:

  • Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • Dr. Sharon Balter, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Acute Communicable Disease Control Program
  • Dr. Andrea Kim, from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s ACP Education Team
  • Dr. Robert Gilchick, Child & Adolescent Health Section Chief of the Los Angeles County’s Division of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health

“I know you are an incredibly busy person,” Kuhlman told Ferrer at the beginning of the meeting. “You carry an incredibly heavy load, and it just means a lot that you and your team are willing to come and spend some time with us this evening and help answer our questions.”

See Related: Return To School Update To Be Further Discussed By Hart District 

Dave Caldwell, who serves as the public information officer for the Hart School District, moderated the discussion with a series of questions that officials had gathered from teachers and staff from all of the public school districts within the Santa Clarita Valley.

The meeting came hours after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that gyms, salons and places of worship were to cease all indoor operations within 30 counties in the state, including Los Angeles County. 

The first question posed to Ferrer was how schools could be opened to allow teachers, students and staff in when other parts of the county are being asked to close down once again.

“As soon as you leave your house in the morning during a pandemic, and you’re going to be in contact with people that aren’t in your household, and particularly where you’re going to be close to them, in a work environment or school, you are creating additional risk,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer noted that approximately 10,000 children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within Los Angeles County as of Monday evening, and the number of daily cases continues to grow in the county.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that three weeks from now that we won’t start seeing a decline in the number of new cases,” Ferrer said. “But right now, and I think the governor made a good decision (…) this would not be a good time to have those nonessential activities continue indoors.”

Other topics discussed during the meeting were the use of face masks in schools, reporting procedures for positive cases of COVID-19 on campuses, and reopening protocols that the County Department of Public Health had released earlier in the day.

To watch the full meeting, check out the video above, or click here.

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L.A. County Health Officials Discuss School Reopening With Santa Clarita Superintendents


  1. Our kids don’t truly matter to these people. It’s awful we spent a ridiculous amount of money for these school districts and they don’t care about our children and their la o of education. Meanwhile, Trinity and Legacy private schools carry on. The school board is a complete disappointment. They showed more concern about addressing Blm in the school curriculums than they did discussing return to school measures.

    Using our children for their political games is inexcusable and unacceptable. Nobody should be buying these overpriced homes in SCV. The schools are not worth it.

    • And what about the teachers? I never hear anyone talk about how this could effect the teachers and the teachers families. What if a child, unknowingly, is sick and infects his/her teacher? The teacher then brings it home to their family and gets their children or even parents sick. What if someone in their family dies because of that one child? How is that fair to the teacher and their family? Teachers aren’t paid to risk their lives for your children. They are paid to teach your children. They never signed up for any of this and yet they are being put in the middle of this whole mess. Do they have a say?

      Children are resilient. They will survive not seeing their friends and socializing for a short period if time. This is only a small blip in their lives.

      This is an inconvenience for everyone, not just the kids. No one wants any of this, but this is what we’ve been given and we have to do what we can to protect everyone.

      • I love your concern, you said everything I feel. As an employee of LAUSD, I am grateful for UTLA and our superintendent for making the best decision for all our safety. I’m not sure if everyone is aware about the reality of our situation. I’ve heard the complaints of some disgruntled parents who seemed to be primarily if not only concerned about the inconvenience of not being able to send their children to school. We are more than babysitters for their children. We are responsible for educating their children as well as creating and maintaining a safe environment for students as well as staff. Once again, I appreciate those who see the entire situation for what it truly is.

    • I agreed with you , I work in Saugus district it is NO WAY to let the kids follow the new guideline that means we punish the kids, and it will reflect in their mental health most of the LA districts will keep the learning distance, but our district still continues their plan, they put us as parents and employees in stress.

  2. Some teachers and administration out here are equivalent to LAUSD tactics. Please stop this nonsense “They’re afraid” is their mantra. This is an obvious political move by the unions. Children need to get back on track
    and suffering at home with no educational guidance. This distant learning has not worked and students are bored and getting into trouble. There are good teachers at this district but far in between.

    The grocery /retail clerks are concerned about their welfare and families, but not whining and these people are not being paid a salary as YOU have been all these months.
    This is definitely is a waste of our taxpayer monies.

    With strict restrictions, guidelines and and blended modules
    The re-opening of school in August is detrimental to everyone. We moved out here to get out of LAUSD jurisdiction, bought a nice home and was told the WSHUHD was the best. I am wondering if we should have stayed in good old L.A.
    “EVERYONE IS AFRAID” of this novel virus, but the fear you people have is worse than Covid. Set an example for the students!!! It is not about YOU but the future and well being of our children

    • The kids bored at home yes, they are in trouble yes, but how about if I send my kids to school and wear masks for more than seven hours, and no playing in playground and six feet’s away from their friend. Are those normal life for kids ??????! my kids are crying they don’t wanna go to school with masks they can’t do it, and they prefer to stay at home.

    • Are you insane? People’s fear is worse than the virus. I don’t see anybody dying from Fear, I see people dying from this virus. And I know retail grocery clerks. They are afraid very afraid.

      If you’re not go ahead and blend your children into crowds with unmasked people. Good luck with that. Life is more important than death

  3. Continue EDD payment’s plus the $600/week so parents can homeschool. When Covid cases improve, hybrid classrooms that truly can achieve social distancing can be utilized. Teenagers can learn online without needing parental supervision. No deaths are worth returning to classrooms too soon. Students can be bored at home, just like they’re bored in school.

    • EDD AND $600 wk payments cannot go on for everyone indefinitely- where is this money coming from? The state is crying broke – seriously your solution is unrealistic and not workable.

  4. No discussion. No school openings until things are better!

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About Michael Brown

Michael Brown has lived in Santa Clarita his whole life. Graduating from Saugus High School in 2016, he continued to stay local by attending The Master’s University, where he is currently studying communications. Michael joined KHTS in January of 2018 as a news intern, and has since gone on to become the After Hours News Director for the KHTS Newsroom. Since joining KHTS, Michael has covered many breaking news stories (both on scene and on air), interviewed dozens of prominent state and federal political figures, and interacted with hundreds of residents from Santa Clarita. When he is not working, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, as well as reading any comic book he can get his hands on.