In breaking news, the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the largest school district in California, has chosen to cancel school effective Monday to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Officials announce Friday afternoon that even though the choice was a difficult one due to the reality of thousands of Los Angeles families don’t have child care options, officials said. The decision impacts more than 730,000 students.
Although, the union representing Los Angeles teachers had been advocating for school closings as the deadly coronavirus emerged with great force in California this week.
Among them, several universities and private elementary schools in Los Angeles had already decided to cancel school for at least a month.
Also, the San Diego Unified School District, the second-largest district in California, declared Friday that it would also close- effective Monday. The crazy amount of school closures represent the most dramatic impact of the outbreak, which has disrupted the lives of many Angelenos ostensibly overnight.
“California has now entered a critical new phase in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said. “There is evidence the virus is already present in the communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread. We believe closing the state’s two largest school districts will make an essential contribution to this effort. For that reason, we plan to close, Monday, March 16.”
“Later today, we will be providing students, parents, and staff with more information on our plans to continue providing learning opportunities for students during the closure. We have also directed staff at both districts to prepare to continue providing nutrition and other supports through family resource facilities.”
Before the big decisions, the LAUSD Board of Education carried out an emergency meeting Friday morning and voted for the action unanimously.
Throughout the two-week closure, “we (will) evaluate the path appropriate path forward,” Beutner said.
According to the plans, the district plans for students to continue to learn during the closure, including 40 family resource centers, which will be open to provide daycare for families that require it.
Teachers will have to adjust to a different way of teaching, while the students all grades will have to adapt to the sudden change in learning.
“This is a difficult decision, but necessary, as we try to slow the spread of the virus,” Beutner stated. “Los Angeles Unified serves a high-needs population, and our schools provide a social safety net for our children. The closing of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instructional time. This is not an easy decision and not one we take lightly.”
The city’s Family Resources Centers will open starting Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Children will have a warm meal, engage with their peers and pursue their different studies,” Beutner said. “And they’ll be safe.”
“These next two weeks will be difficult, and we are not certain what lies ahead after that,” Beutner said. “You have my unwavering commitment to do all we can do to help you and your children.”
The city union also released a “10 Common Good Community Demands,” which means 15 additional paid sick days for the entire Los Angeles County workers, a weekly disaster stipend, and the development of a food supply network.
“The state has a $20 billion reserve, and this is exactly the time to tap into that reserve to support students and families,” Caputo-Pearl revealed. “There is an opportunity here to build a social safety net through our ‘Common Good Community Support’ demands. Let’s take the opportunity to build those now.”