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Three School Playgrounds Open to Public Saturday
 

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By Lookout Staff

September 11, 2020 -- Three Santa Monica elementary schools will open their playgrounds to the community starting Saturday under an agreement between the School District and the City.

Franklin, McKinley and Rogers elementary schools will give access to their fields and schoolyards on weekday afternoons and on weekends after their use was cleared by Los Angeles County health officials.

On Saturday, September 19, Edison, Grant and Roosevelt will open their fields. The Muir/SMASH field has remained open to the public and will continue to remain open during non-school hours, City officials said.

Fields will be available for youth sports practices and open spaces in school yards will be available for community access, officials said.

Play equipment will remain closed until the State and County clear them for use and issue guidance for safe reopening, they said.

“We are excited that school is back in session, but we know it comes with unique challenges for our children and families this year," said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg.

"We hope our continued partnership with SMMUSD will provide the Santa Monica community much-needed access to outdoor recreation as we look together for ways for children to stay active during distance learning,” Dilg said.

District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati touted the importance of students taking part in outdoor activities.

“It is very important for our students and families to have access to outdoor spaces, particularly with students’ home for distance learning on devices for hours each day," Drati said.

"While our students do have interactive activities and physical education built into the distance learning curriculum, being active in a safe outdoor space provides an added benefit to their physical and mental health,” Drati said.

When on-campus learning resumes, all six Playground Partnership sites are expected to be made available on weekends, district holidays, school breaks and during the summer, officials said.

Sites where summer school or other school programming is planned will not be accessible to the public.

Under the Playground Partnership agreement in May, the City will reimburse the District $95,456 a year beginning this July, officials said.

The amount will be adjusted annually by CPI to cover the cost of the District's roaming Sports Facility Attendants who will monitor, clean, and close the restrooms and facilities, as well as remind users of current public health rules, according to the City.

Shifting responsibilities to District staff results in an annual savings to the City of approximately $50,000, staff said.

The City is committed to to program "despite unprecedented budget constraints brought on by COVID-19," officials said.


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