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On LAUSD’s First Day Of Online-Only School, Even The Bus Drivers Are Pitching In

Grace Sanchez has been driving an L.A. Unified school bus for 30 years. On the district's first day of online-only classes, she reported to San Fernando Middle School to help answer phones. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)
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The L.A. Unified School District kicked off a new school year today with two days of online orientation.

But on campus, there was still activity. The phone rang off the hook in the front office of San Fernando Middle School this morning as parents and students called in with tech support questions.

“I believe it was more than 200 calls this morning,” reported Grace Sanchez. Her normal job: school bus driver. Her “today” job: whatever the middle school’s front office staff needed.

“We’re all in the same boat. We have to make the best of it, and try to help each other out.”

Administrators handed Sanchez some talking points, and Sanchez — who’s been behind the wheel for LAUSD for 30 years — did her best to talk students through problems with their laptops, passwords and online systems.
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She didn’t have all the answers — but Sanchez says she did help a lot of Spanish-speaking parents.

A line outside an administrative office at L.A. Unified's San Fernando Middle School on the first day of online-only classes, Aug. 18, 2020. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)

Even though the district is beginning the year in online-only mode, custodians, bus drivers and food service workers reported to work at LAUSD sites this week. Some administrators and office staff are on-campus too, and teachers are being given the option to teach from their classrooms.

Sanchez plans to be back at San Fernando Middle School — answering phones — again on Wednesday.


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