SANTA MONICA—The City of Santa Monica partnered with Santa Monica-Malibu School District (SMMUSD) to open playgrounds and fields in local schools as of Saturday, September 12.

The Playground Partnership agreement was reached in May. The program was in effect for three elementary schools including Franklin, McKinley and Rogers on September 12. Youth sports teams and the community can access fields and schoolyards on weekday afternoons and weekends.

The other three elementary schools including Edison, Grant and Roosevelt will open the outdoor spaces on Saturday, September 19.

“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.

Dilg added, “now that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has cleared field use for certain activities, 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.”

According to the officials, the city will reimburse the SMMUSD $95,456 annually to help cover the cost of monitoring the sites, cleaning the restrooms and facilities, and reminding the public to follow safety guidelines.

“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,” said Dr. Ben Drati, superintendent of SMMUSD.

“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 added.