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College Board Addresses Glitches In Submitting AP Exams With New Backups

The 2020 Advanced Placement exam for United States history was taken Friday, May 15. (Megan Garvey / LAist)

The second week of Advanced Placement -- or "AP" -- exams begins Monday.

While the College Board says less than 1% of test takers couldn't submit answers, distressed students have flooded social media with reports of glitches. And the stakes are high -- for some, passing could earn college credit or placement, potentially saving thousands in tuition.

So over the weekend, the College Board announced a new, backup email submission system.

If a student is unable to upload answers -- the system will now prompt them with a unique email address to send responses immediately after the test.

One important caveat: the College Board is only offering that option to those taking AP exams going forward. So students who ran into problems last week, will still have to re-test in June.


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ACLU Sues Federal Prisons Demanding Release Of Prisoners At Hard-Hit SoCal Facilities

Family members of incarcerated prisoners rallied at Terminal Island on May 8 calling for more action to protect inmates from the virus (Emily Elena Dugdale/LAist).

The ACLU of Southern California has filed lawsuits seeking the swift reduction of the populations at two Southern California federal prisons hard hit by coronavirus outbreaks.

The suits, filed over the weekend, cite over a thousand COVID-19 cases in Lompoc Prison nearly half the population. And roughly 700 out of the 1,000 inmates at Terminal Island have tested positive for COVID-19, although current data provided by the Bureau of Prisons indicates only 117 of those cases are now considered active.

Don Specter is co-counsel on the suits, and says both prisons' high infection rates are made worse by overcrowding. He told us:

“Those two factors combined make it very difficult, if not impossible, to be safe from infection. And also to get appropriate medical care if they are infected.”

Specter says many inmates are low-risk offenders but are at a high risk for serious health complications, particularly at Terminal Island where he said most prisoners are assigned “because of their medical conditions.”

At Lompoc, two inmates have died of COVID-19. Seven inmates have died from the virus at Terminal Island.

Specter hopes the remedy the ACLU is seeking — the significant release of prisoners — can be sped up through a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

Felicia Ponce, Terminal Island's warden, said last week that her facility is undergoing a second round of review to recommend more inmates for home confinement. It's expected to be completed May 22.

UPDATE: On Monday, May 18, the Bureau of Prisons told us it won't comment on pending litigation.


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LA County Announces 694 New COVID-19 Cases, 29 New Deaths

Covid-19 testing underway in Crenshaw. Chava Sanchez/LAist

L.A. County health officials have confirmed 694 new cases of coronavirus and 29 new deaths. Of those who died:

  • 24 were over the age of 65
  • 4 were between the ages of 41 to 65
  • 1 was between the ages of 18 to 40 years old

County health officials also reported that 16 of the 29 people who died had underlying health conditions.

Sunday’s numbers bring the total cases in L.A. County to 38,001, and the total deaths to 1,821.

Information about race and ethnicity is available for 99% of people who have died from COVID-19 in the region. Of those:

  • 39% of deaths occurred among Latina/Latino residents [48.6% of county residents]
  • 29% among White residents [26.1% of county residents]
  • 18% among Asian residents [15.4% of county residents]
  • 12% among African American residents [9% of county residents]
  • 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% among residents identifying with other races

Testing capacity continues to increase in L.A. County, with testing results available for over 309,000 individuals and 11% of people testing positive.

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, warned that as more restaurants, shops and workplaces in L.A. begin to reopen, residents with underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease, asthma, a serious heart condition, HIV, or another condition that affects the immune system should continue to “do your best to stay home as much as possible [and] avoid close contact with others.”

“If you begin to feel sick, contact your [health care] provider immediately,” she said. “It’s also a good idea to talk to employers and friends and let them know you are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.”

Manhattan Beach Mayor Says Taking Education-First Approach With Beachgoers Is Working

Manhattan Beach on the first day Los Angeles County allowed beaches to reopen after a six-week closure. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

This is the first weekend in months that Los Angeles County beaches are open for active use such as swimming, surfing and walking.

Aerial images of Santa Monica and Venice beaches show some people breaking the rules by sitting or sunbathing.

The good news is that many of the rulebreakers appear to be following another mandate: to keep a healthy distance from one another.

Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery told us beachgoers respected social distancing, even if they took a seat on the sand:

"We took the approach moreso that we don't want to see any tents. We don't want to see clumps of people together. And anybody that did that, we let them know it wasn't permissible. Most everybody was fine with it."

Montgomery says lifeguards and police reported good responses from their education-first strategy, especially for out-of-town visitors.

"We don't want to see the issue of Orange County where we're shut down," Montgomery said. "I think more people are cognizant about it now, and they don't want to be shut down either."

Montgomery hopes this weekend's success is a positive sign for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.


LAFD Chief On Last Night's Fire: 'A Lot Of Our Firefighters Were Traumatized'

Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters at the scene of a structure fire that sent 11 firefighters to the hospital. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said last night's big fire and explosion in Downtown L.A. that sent 11 firefighters to the hospital had many in his department distressed:

"A lot of our firefighters were traumatized. I spoke to them directly, and they're holding up. But when one of your own is can imagine the amount of emotional stress."

Terrazas, speaking at a news conference last night, said they hoped the incident would provide lessons for the future.

"We'll have a more in-depth significant incident investigation team look at this incident to learn everything possible, so that we can learn from this event and share this information with all our firefighters within the LAFD as well as throughout the region," he said.


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Morning Briefing: Massive Fire Breaks Out On DTLA's 'Bong Row'

Firefighters respond to an explosion in downtown Los Angeles that has injured multiple firefighters and caused a fire that spread to several buildings, Saturday, May 16, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio) (Stefanie Dazio/AP)

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Well, a lot has happened already this weekend. We had a massive fire downtown.... and, I've gotta say, every disaster feels kind of excessive right now. We're already experiencing a global pandemic and pending economic collapse. It's just a lot.

Thankfully, the firefighers of Station 9, who already have the incredibly difficult job of providing emergency medical aid for those living on Skid Row, are going to be OK. A few sustained critical injuries, but LAFD says recoveries are expected.

So let's all raise a glass to L.A.'s firefighters who are out there everyday, pandemic or not, keeping this city from burning down. And let's raise a second glass (because it's Sunday) to the late great Lynn Shelton, who was an inspiration to so many L.A. filmakers, and will be dearly missed.

Stay safe and get some vitamin D today, L.A.

Gina Pollack

The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now more than 37,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 1,800 deaths in L.A. County. In California there are at least 78,818 cases and 3,208 deaths. Worldwide, there are more than 4.6 million cases and over 311,000 deaths.

Correction: An earlier version of this story overstated the number of cases and deaths in L.A. County.

Beaches are open again, but we're getting mixed messages from officals about biking near the sand. Photos showed minimal crowding in Venice and Santa Monica yesterday. Visitors were definitely sunbathing, which is technically on the don't-do list, but it looks like they had enough room for social distancing. We also accidentally started a twitter fight about it?

As if it didn't already feel like the apocalypse, a huge fire broke out in downtown L.A. last night. Eleven firefighters from Station 9, which covers Skid Row, were injured. Some were put on ventilators and others experienced severe burns, but Mayor Garcetti said they will all recover. The fire happened at a smoke shop/supplier of butane honey oil, in an area known by some as "Bong Row."

L.A. lost a friend: Celebrated film director Lynn Shelton died on Friday from a blood disorder at the age of 54. Her partner, comedian and actor Marc Maron, said the condition was previously unknown, telling IndieWire: "I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don't really know how to move forward in this moment." Hollywood took to social media to mourn her loss.

Tell me something good: You won't have to move your car for alternate street parking until at least June 1. (Personally, real happy about this one, seeing as I don't have a garage or driveway and already have given the city lots of money for past tickets. #blessed). Descanso Gardens is open again, meaning you can buy a ticket for an activity outside your home! Plus, flowers!

Sorry to report: The L.A. County fair, scheduled for September, is cancelled -- it hasn't been called off since WWII.

Moment of zen:

L.A. resident Elizabeth Rowin decided to give the Smokey Bear in Griffith Park, near Los Feliz Blvd., a new look for 2020. "Mayor Garcetti has ordered we all wear masks when leaving the house," she said via email, "so I thought Smokey Bear was the perfect messenger: 'Only you can prevent the spread of Covid-19.'" We think his eyes say it all.

(Photo courtesy Elizabeth Rowin)

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