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Saddleback Valley district sends layoff notices to 174 employees

The Saddleback Valley Unified School District has sent layoff notices to 174 of its employees.

The notices, which went out as reduction-in-force notices, were made because out of concern those employees won’t be needed if in-class instruction doesn’t resume in coming weeks, Assistant Superintendent Connie Cavanaugh said.

Capistrano Unified and Los Alamitos Unified recently made similar layoff decisions.

The layoffs will take affect Oct. 20, which is 60 days after approved by the school board on Aug. 20. It is possible the notices could be rescinded if in-person instruction resumes and there is work for the employees laid off.

The California Department of Public Health on Aug. 23 removed Orange County from its watch list of counties that had high numbers of coronavirus cases, shares of positive tests and other metrics, kicking off a 14-day countdown for in-class instruction in physically-spaced classrooms to be allowed to resume after Labor Day if the county can continue its trend of lower coronavirus numbers.

On Friday, Aug. 28, the state eliminated the watch list system, instead creating tiers of restrictions, placing Orange County in the most restrictive and throwing into question whether the countdown was still on, but later in the day local officials clarified that schools are still set to be allowed to make the transition as of Sept. 8 if trends hold.

“These are super-cautionary layoffs in case we can’t return to classroom instruction,” Cavanaugh said. “Our goal is that if and when we know what a return to school looks like, we can rescind these notices.”

She explained the layoffs were restricted to student-based positions such as playground assistants and campus supervisors who are not needed during the exclusively distance-learning model currently under way at Orange County public schools. SVUSD, a K-12 district with an enrollment of 27,708, began its school year Aug. 17.

Cavanaugh said she hopes the layoff notices will be obsolete by Oct. 20.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Source: Orange County Register

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