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'Health Comes First': What Parents Are Saying About LAUSD's Classroom Shutdown

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Alec Kampe holds his 4-month-old daughter after dropping off his 3-year-old at Vanalden Early Childhood Center in Reseda. (Mariana Dale/LAist)
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Here's the general reaction from parents to the news that the Los Angeles Unified School District will suspend in-person classes for two weeks:

We get it.

"I feel like it's something that actually probably needs to be done until this virus is contained," parent Alec Kampe said after dropping off his 3-year-old daughter at Vanalden Early Childhood Center in Reseda. "It's going to be a bit of an inconvenience because, you know, some of us have to work, but at the same time health comes first."

Several parents interviewed by LAist had a similar response. While many were left wondering how they would juggle work and child care for a couple of weeks, most said it was worth the inconvenience to keep their kids safe and healthy.

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Kampe said he and his wife will be looking for a babysitter to care their daughters until classrooms reopen.

Another Vanalden parent, Shiva Motaghe, says she'll be able to stay home with her son. She's concerned by the situation in her native country, Iran, where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly and more than 400 people have died.

"I'm very happy they closed all the schools because it's very dangerous," she said. "We must be serious about that virus."

Other working parents aren’t sure yet who will watch their kids.

“I would struggle right now,” said Nancy Witz, who works at a pet hotel that remains open.

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Over at Eagle Rock High School, parents were less concerned about child care — many of their teenagers can keep themselves occupied. Of greater concern, they said, is the potential interruption of studies, even though LAUSD says learning will continue with remote teaching.

Lladira Ballesteros said she's been stocking up on gloves, soap, toilet paper and canned food. She planned to have a more direct conversation with her kids when they get home from school Friday.

"I don't want to get them scared," she said. "I'm scared too."

Juan Corral said he's making sure son, who attends Eagle Rock High School, is "asking the teachers to give them extra work, so they don't fall behind," especially if the suspension lasts more than two weeks.

"It could be more than that, so we want all the teachers, everybody, even the parents, to think about [what] that's going to look like if it goes beyond two weeks," he said.

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Still, he thinks LAUSD did the right thing.

"I'd rather err on the side of caution than actually be saying that we didn't do enough."

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