By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Earlier this month Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announced that the upcoming school year will begin on August 18 as planned, but questions linger about what that means for students and staff.
Before schools across Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades closed on March 13 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, safety guards were being put in place on campuses.
Schools worked to disinfect areas, including rails and countertops, and portable washing stations were placed to make hand washing accessible.
The district is currently weighing its options for the 2020-21 school year.
“LAUSD’s 2020-21 school year will still begin on August 18, as originally planned,” said LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin in an email to the Palisadian-Post. “We hope to resume in-person classes then (though somewhat modified), but we will continue to work with state officials and school communities to follow guidelines and prioritize the health and safety of our students, families and school staff.
“This may mean the continuation of virtual learning, or necessary modifications to in-person school days to accommodate social distancing guidelines, and may look different in different schools.”
Half-days, staggered schedules, social distancing in the classroom and potentially wearing masks to school are just a few of the many things being considered—none of which are final, given the contingencies of the situation.
This is also the first time LAUSD is offering summer learning opportunities to all students within the district. The program will allow students to continue learning remotely through the summer.
Enrichment opportunities and activities include book clubs, virtual field trips, webinars and more.
Intensive instruction will also be offered to combat learning difficulties or learning loss during this unprecedented time. All students can participate in grade-level classes to work on literacy and math.
Registration began on Monday, May 18, and the program will begin on Wednesday, June 24.
A recent survey that LAUSD conducted across East LA found that 75% of the 12,000 families that participated felt schools and the school district were doing a good job of managing issues related to school closures and the coronavirus.
The biggest challenge for families was finding access to the internet and technology, Beutner said in a video providing updates on Monday, May 18.
In a separate survey, LAUSD found that 57% of families reported that one or more individuals in their household lost their job due to COVID-19.
“Most families were struggling to get by before this crisis and for more than half of them, their situation has gotten worse,” Beutner said. “The need has never been greater.”
LAUSD continues to offer support to its students: meals, a mental health hotline and more.
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