Governor Orders Additional Closures Throughout LA County
By SARAH SHMERLING and JENNIKA INGRAM
Palisadians were met with a bevy of news on Monday, July 13, guiding which sectors throughout the county were ordered to rescind their reopening and what the looming start of the school year will look like with increasing cases of COVID-19.
Los Angeles Unified School District reported campuses will not reopen when the 2020-21 academic year begins mid-August and schools will continue with online learning until further notice.
“While the new school year will begin in August, it will not start with students at school facilities,” Superintendent Austin Beutner shared in an update to the community. “The health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise.”
Beutner added that the district, which includes Palisades Charter Elementary, Marquez Charter Elementary, Canyon Charter Elementary and Paul Revere Charter Middle schools, closed facilities before there were any case of COVID-19 at the schools, what he said proved to be the right call.
“Science was our guide and will continue to be,” Beutner said.
In alignment with LAUSD requiring all schools in the district to reopen in a 100% all-virtual mode with no in-person learning, Palisades Charter High School will also begin its 2020-21 school year in an eLearning environment.
“PCHS is directly impacted by this decision due to the school’s location on district property and the LAUSD-PCHS Sole Occupancy Agreement,” Dr. Pam Magee, principal and executive director, announced in a letter posted to the Pali High website. “This decision is due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 cases and the need to ensure that all students and staff are in a safe learning environment.”
Prior to the announcement, Pali High shared on its website potential models for the 2020-21 school year, including full distance eLearning, hybrid learning and an option for students to use the Virtual Academy.
“Schools pivoted rapidly to eLearning in March with very little time to prepare,” Magee said. “If health conditions require the continuation of eLearning, PCHS will now be better positioned to provide robust instruction, student support services and increased opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction.”
Private schools in the community are also starting to reveal plans for how the 2020-21 school year will begin.
Seven Arrows Elementary School, which offers kindergarten through sixth-grade instruction, will adopt a hybrid model that “gives parents the option to choose to either have their child attend school in person full time or engage in full-time distance learning,” according to a press release.
Instruction will have staggered start and stop times per grade/cohort, with distance learning conducted entirely remotely but synchronized with the in-class students. The campus will add classroom space to allow for increased physical distancing for those interested in returning to campus.
At this time, Calvary Christian School is planning on meeting in-person when school begins September 8, according to a spokesperson, with plans to utilize the “spacious campus to allow for proper social distancing” and offering remote learning to families who choose to remain at home. Following LAUSD’s decision, the spokesperson added that the school is “watching and waiting.”
Village School, which has assembled a potential plan for re-entry that spans the first 10 weeks of the school year, is surveying its faculty and parent body to get a sense of how they feel, according to a spokesperson. The plan includes different factors for different grade levels, offering in-person learning for small groups in TK, K and first grade, with a hybrid of on-campus and online instruction for second through sixth in alternating cohorts.
Saint Matthew’s Parish School did not provide plans for the upcoming school year as the Post went to print Tuesday.
On Monday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of indoor operations for fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons, barbershops and malls in many counties across the state to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including Los Angeles.
Statewide closures now include indoor operations of restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment, zoos, museums, cardrooms and bars, all of which had been previously closed in the county.
“I support [Governor Newsom’s] decision today,” Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote in a tweet. “These are important steps we need now to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
As the Post went to print, confirmed cases in the Palisades had reached 88, with 15 in Palisades Highlands. When factoring in Long Beach and Pasadena, there were 140,307 cases throughout the county, with 3,894 deaths.
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