Palm Springs schools on later path to in-person learning than others nearby

Don’t be confused if you see friends posting pictures of their children headed back inside schools today. Students in Palm Springs are a month behind those in one neighboring school district for a return to in-person learning.

Palm Springs Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Lyon said last week the district, with schools in six Coachella Valley cities including Palm Springs, is targeting April 12 for a “hybrid reopening” of some classrooms. The Desert Sands Unified School District, with schools in Palm Desert, Indio and other nearby cities, starts its reopening today.

“The light at the end of what has been a deep, dark tunnel is finally beginning to shine through,” Lyon wrote in a message to parents. “Such welcome and overdue news for all of us!”

Under a hybrid reopening plan in the Palm Springs Unified School District, elementary students, including those at Katherine Finchy School in Palm Springs (seen here), will return to in-person learning.

Under the district’s reopening plan, which is similar to one starting today in the Desert Sands district, Pre-K through second graders will attend in-person classes two days per week starting April 12, and third through fifth graders will return two days a week starting April 19. Parents of approximately 60 percent of the district’s 24,000 students said they will allow their children back into classrooms when they open. They can expect schedules for their students in the coming weeks.

The district plans to enforce social distancing, masks, and frequent hand washing. It also hopes to vaccinate all 2,500 staff — a priority for the state under recently-passed legislation.

Lyon said middle school and high school students should be offered in-person education before the end of the school year. Exact dates for those students are still to be determined. Last week, some high school sports teams in the district began in-person competition and practice. A shortened high school football season kicks off later this week.

“In the meantime, we want our families to have as much information as possible to prepare for a hybrid return to campus if they choose that for their children” Lyon wrote. The district plans a March 22 live town hall meeting, and has prepared overall guides available online in English and Spanish. In addition, videos on transportation (in English and Spanish), nutritional services (in English and Spanish), and a general overview (in English and Spanish) are now available.

More information:

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WIND WARNING: The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for Palm Springs and surrounding communities today. Winds averaging 25-30 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph, and possibly up to 85 mph, can be expected starting at 8 AM and lasting until about 3 AM Tuesday. Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines; Power outages are possible; And travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.


  • Desert X: Art installations throughout the Coachella Valley, including several within the Palm Springs city limits, are officially open to visit. The free event runs through May 16. A map of the installations can be found here.
  • Meatless Monday: Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter host virtual meatless cooking classes each Monday. Registration for today’s classes, at 3 PM and 6 PM, can be found here.

COVID VACCINES: If you qualify for a vaccine you can get one at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 8 AM-5 PM today, and all week through Friday. Appointments can be reserved online at Find community providers such as pharmacies here.


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