Public schooling in San Diego and Los Angeles will all be conducted online this fall, the school districts announced Monday.
The Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts enroll 825,000 students, the New York Times reports, but these students will not be attending classes in person this fall due to concerns over rising coronavirus infections.
#BREAKING: LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner says fall school year will begin Aug. 18, but students will not be on campus.
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) July 13, 2020
“There’s a public health imperative to keep schools from becoming a petri dish,” Los Angeles superintendent Austin Beutner told the Times.
Over a third of coronavirus cases in California are in Los Angeles County, the Times reports. San Diego county has experienced 18 community outbreaks in the last week. This is more than twice as much as California’s acceptable threshold, according to the Times.
“This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August,” the districts said in a joint statement. “It is obviously an even greater disappointment to the many parents who are anxious for their students to resume their education. Most of all, this decision will impact our students in ways that researchers will take years to understand.”
“Our leaders owe it to all of those impacted by the COVID-19 closures to increase the pace of their work,” they added. “No one should use the delay in the reopening of classrooms as a reason to relax. The coronavirus has not taken a summer vacation, as many had hoped. Indeed, the virus has accelerated its attacks on our community.”
News that the schools will be closed in the fall comes as President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos push for schools to open in the fall.
“I think the go-to needs to be kids in school, in person, in the classroom, because we know for most kids, that’s the best environment for them,” DeVos said on CNN over the weekend, according to the Times.
Trump has also criticized guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on the reopening of schools, praising other countries that have begun in person education once again.
“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” he tweeted Wednesday. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”
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