As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout the city, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced Monday that students will not be returning for in-person classes at the start of the new school year next month.
As a result of what Superintendent Austin Beutner described as a difficult but unavoidable decision, students in the district are set to resume classes online on August 18.
“The challenge for schools remains how to strike the right balance between three sometimes conflicting objectives – the learning needs of students, the health and safety of all in the school community and the impact the virus is having on working families. Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread in the Los Angeles area and the virus is going to impact how we start the new school year.”Statement from Supt. Austin Beutner
The decision comes shortly after many teachers in the district took a stance urging the district to keep stay-at-home orders in place and instead push for improving online learning. In a poll taken Friday, 83% of UTLA members voted against LAUSD physically reopening schools at the start of the fall.
In his announcement Monday, Beutner said the district would push for more accessible distance learning methods in the fall incorporating daily, live engagement between teachers and students. Student progress will be regularly assessed by teachers to better guide schoolwork and keep families informed on how classes are going.
More information about the finalized plans for this coming semester will be released the week of August 1, Beutner said.
Reactions from the community have been mixed. While many are applauding the decision, others say a digital divide and a need for some parents to work will likely cause problems for students in communities like Boyle Heights.