LAUSD Cancels In-Person Classes For 2 Weeks, Sending Half A Million Kids Home
The Los Angeles Unified School District has announced plans to cancel in-person instruction starting Monday as the coronavirus spreads worldwide. For the next two weeks, all 472,000 students will continue their coursework online.
In an email to LAUSD staff, Superintendent Austin Beutner said the two week closure will give district leaders a chance to "evaluate the appropriate path forward."
Technically, the order to close only covers LAUSD’s district-run schools. But many charter schools within LAUSD’s boundaries — which serve an additional 115,000 children — are likely to take cues from the district and may close as well.
The decision is another high-profile example of how mounting concern about COVID-19 is affecting daily life in Los Angeles. LAUSD is not only the largest K-12 district in the U.S. to shut down so far, but also one of the largest employers in the region to suspend normal operations.
"We’re in uncharted waters as we work to prevent the spread of the illness," Beutner said.
Beutner has promised the district’s 70,000 employees will continue to receive paychecks even if they are unable to provide direct services to students.
In a Friday morning press conference, Beutner said there are still no known links between any virus cases and LAUSD schools.
L.A. Unified announced its plans to close in a joint statement with California's second-largest district, San Diego Unified, where schools will close until April 6.
Beutner said the joint announcement was meant to send a "signal" to state leaders. So far, state and local public health officials have said schools don't need to close unless there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among the students or staff.
"This is something the state needs to be with us," Beutner said, "as we pursue not only this chapter but what comes from here."
HOW WE'RE REPORTING ON THIS
Reporter Carla Javier is at L.A. Unified headquarters covering the board meetings and press conferences. K-12 reporter Kyle Stokes is the lead writer on this story and will be gathering reaction throughout the day. Reporter Mariana Dale is on her way to Beachy Ave. Elementary School in Arleta to speak to parents and staff. Digital producer Ryan Fonseca is keeping this story updated.
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