Taylor Crawford (‘23)
Growing optimism regarding Los Angeles County moving to a less restrictive tier concerning COVID-19 regulations has inspired conversations as well as hope for a return to normalcy and to the Webb campus. Governor Gavin Newsom recently shared that once LA county hits the goal of two million COVID-19 vaccinations administered in low-income communities, the county can move to the red tier. LA county is currently in the purple, or widespread, tier.
LA County has faced uncertainty about moving tiers. Currently, it remains in the purple tier, which means more than 8% of COVID tests are positive and there are at least seven new daily cases per 100,000 residents. These data mean that COVID-19 is still widespread, and schools are not permitted to offer in-person classes.
However, Los Angeles County could move to the red tier as soon as this weekend, according to ABC news. The red, or substantial spread, tier’s conditions are 5-8% positive COVID tests and only four to seven new daily cases per 100,000 residents. After 14 days of being in the red tier, schools are allowed back to in-person classes within the proper safety guidelines.
This potential shift has significant implications for Webb. As a private school, Webb has its own guidelines for reopening. The Medical Board wants to ensure the absolute safety of all members of the Webb community. Because of this goal, it is still unclear as to whether Webb will reopen for boarding and online classes.
Dr. Theresa Smith, Assistant Head of Schools, on the behalf of the school, shared her thoughts of the recent news regarding LA County’s tier color.
“We are thrilled to see the case rate numbers declining in Los Angeles and are hopeful they will continue to fall so we can indeed move into the red tier. We encourage everyone to continue to follow the protocols established by Webb and our state and local public health agencies,” Dr. Smith said. “We are still assessing what the red tier will mean for Webb and expect to get updates from our local public health department later this week. We will be updating the community on Monday about our next steps.”
Students at the Webb Schools share different reactions and thoughts regarding LA County’s latest decision to stay in the purple tier this Tuesday, March 9th.
“I wasn’t really surprised that LA County chose to stay in the purple tier,” Daniel Serna (‘23) said. “The county has been slow moving and has been very nitpicky on when to open things up.”
“In my opinion, I think that LA county should be in the red tier and should have been for at least a few weeks now,” Daniel said. “This whole time I thought they should have gone by city and not county because the city LA is so large, and the vast majority of the positive cases are from the inner cities.”
“For LA County to move to the red tier would be a big accomplishment to prove that our county is thriving. This would be a big step for the city and the first decision I’d actually agree with them on,” Daniel said.
“I do not see such an importance to rush forward and possibly endanger more people,” Harry Grossman (‘24) said. “I personally believe it is safer and more practical for people to stay home and wait the pandemic out.”
“When thinking of the pandemic…once someone can do something they’ll take it to the extremes,” Harry said. “If restaurants and bars are given more leniency, we’ll start to see more rules and regulations being broken, which would just further the casualties of COVID-19.
“I personally don’t see enough reasons to have students start going back to school or dining out this soon because I think it would just cause more death,” Harry said.
“I think that LA County is being safe, which rocks. It’s smart and they’re learning from their mistakes, but also it sucks because it means we still can’t do stuff, like come back to school, which is all I really want to do,” Laura Caldwell (‘21) said.
“I did not have a strong reaction when I heard LA county was staying in the purple tier. At this point, I have gotten so used to this way of life that it does not make a difference, and I honestly do not have a strong opinion,” Isabella Llorens (‘22) said. “I know that these decisions are strictly based on statistics and numbers, so whenever it is safe to move tiers, I will be excited to see what that means for the Webb community.”
Even though reactions to LA county’s latest decision on Tuesday to stay in the purple tier vary, most Webb students and faculty wish for a safe and successful return to in-person classes. We can all anticipate word from Webb regarding possible return to in-person classes on Monday, March 15th. We can also expect word from Governor Gavin Newsom regarding a possible shift to the red tier no later than this coming Tuesday.