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LA County Schools Chief: Unlikely Campuses Would Reopen By July

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A padlocked entrance to Bellevue Primary Center, an L.A. Unified School District campus in Silver Lake, on April 1, 2020. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)
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Los Angeles County's top education official said today that it's unlikely that local public school districts will re-open their campuses by July, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom had suggested last week.

"Many of us were surprised by the governor suggesting that," L.A. County superintendent of schools Debra Duardo said during an appearance on KPCC's AirTalk on Friday.

There are still too many unknowns, Duardo said: masks and thermometers are still "on backorder." Re-opening schools early would require negotiations with labor unions.

Duardo has convened two dozen leaders of L.A. County's 80 districts for a task force to study the re-opening of schools. She says even when campuses re-open, classrooms are likely to run very differently:

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"We're talking about only having a small number of students present at any particular time. A classroom that may have 30 students would more likely have 10 students. We'd have to stagger schedules. We'd have to have some students physically present on certain days while others continue to receive instruction remotely…

"We're also looking at partnerships with libraries and parks so some students can receive remote learning in a nontraditional school setting so parents can go to work while they're getting remote online instruction."

Earlier this week, leaders of the county's largest school system, Los Angeles Unified, said they've "made no decisions" about whether to reopen campuses for the fall semester.

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