Laguna Beach USD opts to keep in-person board meetings amid COVID-19 surge

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The Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Board of Education met on Jan. 13 at the Thurston Middle School Library. Photo courtesy of Youtube

Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the outcome of the school board’s vote. The Independent regrets the error.

The Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Board of Education agreed to continue meeting in person amid a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases but will keep the option to meet virtually if necessary, officials said Thursday.

Board members agreed to hold their Feb. 10 meeting in person at the Thurston Middle School Library but also unanimously approved an emergency resolution allowing meetings to move online if a majority of board members are under quarantine. Last September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an amendment to the Brown Act allowing public agencies to teleconference their meetings to protect the health and safety of attendees.

“I feel like we’ve done a good job this week trying to think of new safety measures like having some [other staff members] participate from home…, testing, masks, anything we need to do as a board to ensure we’re proceeding safely to continue conducting business,” Board Clerk Kelly Osborne said.

The school board discussed shifting meetings onto Zoom for 30 days but chose not to move forward with the plan.

Board members also agreed to postpone a student recognition event scheduled for Jan. 25.

“I think from a public health standpoint it’s the best thing to do to not expose the children and families to catching the virus,” Board member James Kelly said.

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