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World News

Los Angeles county allows schools to reopen for students with special needs

(Reuters) - Los Angeles County will allow schools to reopen to serve small groups of students with special needs and those for whom English is a second language, the latest move to loosen coronavirus-related restrictions in the hard-hit region.

The county also said on Wednesday it would allow hair salons and barber shops to open at 25% capacity. Pandemic-related guidelines in the most populous California county had been briefly stricter than those in most other parts of the state after cases spiked in the summer.

“Right now a cautious and titrated reopening - with close monitoring of what happens to our data in the weeks to follow - is needed to ensure we are not experiencing a significant spike in cases,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health.

As of Wednesday, 51 additional people had died and 1,457 new cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in L.A. County, Ferrer said. The county, which has 10 million residents, has had a total of 243,935 cases and 5,878 deaths.

Like San Francisco County, which has also been hard-hit by the virus’ summer surge, L.A. County did not go along with state rules allowing hair salons and barbershops to re-open for indoor services on Monday. However, Wednesday’s action by Ferrer and the Board of Supervisors brings it in line with the rest of the state.

It is not immediately clear when schools in the region will reopen for in-person instruction, however. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest, opened last month for remote learning only.

The district on Wednesday would say only that it was evaluating the county’s new guidance. United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing educators in the district, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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