There is good news for students and their parents who felt left out when one school district got a waiver to allow children back early, and that's because there are now new opportunities for even more students to return to in-person learning.
5-year-old Apollo Bush is on the cusp of emotional change, according to his parents.
"Perhaps more than any other time in his life right now is when he will learn to socialize and learn to regulate his emotions in the context of being able to be with his peers," said Apollo's father, Benjamin Bush.
Until this week, the Bush's feared their autistic son would not join the ranks of the 77 percent of Los Alamitos students destined to return to campus after Labor Day. It's the only public school district in Orange County granted a waiver to allow in-person instruction, but it did not include children with special needs.
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Now, the state has announced small cohorts of students can return, up to 14 in a classroom, opening the door to students like Apollo.
Superintendent Andrew Pulver says the Los Alamitos waiter gives his district more flexibility even though the new cohort guidelines now apply to any school, even if their county is on the state's watch list.
School districts must still apply for permission from the state.
"We have less barriers than if we did not have the waiver...I think that's just the nature of the pandemic. The science changes and as we learn more...the constraints perhaps things ebb and flow throughout this process," said Pulver.
Los Alamitos plans to have a hybrid set up -- half the students split into two schedules.
The Bush's know it won't be perfect and that Apollo will miss some of the sensory equipment he had before. Still, he will be back.