Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said today that the school district will remain closed through at least May 1 and announced a new partnership with the San Diego school district as part of a new call for a "coordinated state response" to help schools that have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
Beutner also announced a $100 million partnership with Verizon to help provide internet access for students for the second largest school district in the country. Beutner said the district would also help students, teachers and families learn how to use the educational devices such as Schoology and other technologies used like Zoom and Google Meet Up.
In remote address, Beutner told parents that while the district will keep schools closed through May 1, the future beyond that still remains uncertain.
“This past week marks the start of a new chapter for all who are part of our school community,” Beutner said of the school closures, which were originally planned only through the end of March. “Students are learning in different ways, teachers are teaching in different ways and families are struggling to support their children in their studies while balancing other responsibilities.
“I wish I could tell you it will all be back to normal sometime soon, but it does not look like that will be the case,” Beutner added.
The last day of school for LAUSD students was on March 13.
The district estimates about half of its students are continuing to learn at the pace they'd been at school, with a quarter of those doing "okay," but additional work was needed to make sure students were getting the full benefits, Beutner said.
About one-quarter of LAUSD students aren't getting the education they need because of a lack of resources, the superintendent added.
“It's not reasonable for students or educators, nor is it sound educational practice, ... to spend six hours a day in online, two-way communication,” Beutner said. “Families who are struggling to get by in this crisis may not be able to spend all day trying to help their children do schoolwork.”
The next few weeks, students will be asked to continue learning independently while their teachers work on new instruction plans. A week of spring break has also been planned for April 6-10, to give families time to recharge for the work ahead.
A schedule for students has been posted to the LAUSD website, LAUSD.net, along with details about how the new technology will be distributed for students.
The district is also continuing to provide hundreds of thousands of meals for families during this unprecented time, with help from district employees and volunteers from the Red Cross.
Donate for the food program and more information can be found by visiting LAStudentsMostinNeed.org.
On Friday, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo said campuses should remain off limits until May 5.
“In the interest of public safety and the health of our children and most vulnerable community members, we are asking our 80 school districts to remain closed with students returning on May 5,” Duardo said in a statement Friday. “School closures will help prevent transmission of their staff, students and families for all that they are doing to ensure that learning continues and that vital nutrition and meal services are provided.”
The Long Beach Unified School District followed up with an announcement that they were adhering to the recommendation. In the City of Industry, the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District said it would extend its coronavirus-related hiatus until May 5.
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images