Field Space Opens September 12 as Part of Playground Partnership

September 10, 2020 9:00 AM

In May, the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica-Malibu School District (SMMUSD) announced their commitment to continue the Playground Partnership program despite unprecedented budget constraints brought on by COVID-19. With the school year now underway, the City and SMMUSD are bringing back field space through the Playground Partnership scheduled to launch this week, based on what is permissible under LA County Public Health guidelines.

Scheduled to resume September 12, while distance learning is in place, SMMUSD will open three elementary school sites for field and schoolyard access on weekday afternoons and on weekends, now that youth sports have been cleared on LA County’s Roadmap to Recovery. These sites are Franklin, McKinley, and Rogers elementary schools. On September 19, the remaining elementary schools: Edison, Grant, and Roosevelt will open. The Muir / SMASH field has remained open to the public and will continue to remain open during non-school hours.

While play equipment must remain closed until the State of California and LA County clear them for use and issue guidance for safe reopening, fields will be available for youth sports practices and open spaces in school yards will be available for community access. The City began permitting City fields for youth sports access on September 8. SMMUSD will continue permitting district fields through September 13, with the City taking back permitting responsibilities on September 14. When on-campus learning resumes, all six Playground Partnership sites are anticipated to be available on weekends, district holidays, school breaks, and during the summer, except for sites where summer school or other school programming is planned.

Through the new Playground Partnership model agreed to in May, the City will reimburse SMMUSD in the amount of $95,456.40 annually beginning in FY20/21, adjusted annually by CPI, to cover the cost of SMMUSD’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. Shifting responsibilities to SMMUSD staff results in an annual savings to the City of approximately $50,000. 

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

“We are pleased with our ongoing partnership with the City of Santa Monica regarding use of our fields outside of the school day,” said Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent of SMMUSD. “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. 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.”

The same public health practices that keep us safe everyday are essential to follow to safely use fields in Santa Monica:

  1. Wear a face covering.
  2. Maintain physical distance of six feet or more.
  3. Do not gather with people outside your household.
  4. If you or your child are sick, stay home.
  5. Wash your hands frequently.

Field permitting inquiries for youth sports can be sent to




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