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LAUSD will stop in-person instruction amid rising COVID cases

The suspension will take effect Thursday

City News Service | 12/7/2020, 10:32 a.m.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner today ordered a suspension of all in-person instruction...

Amid soaring COVID-19 case numbers in Los Angeles County, contributing to the imposition of a regional stay-at-home order, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner today ordered a suspension of all in-person instruction and child-care program for the balance of the fall semester.

The suspension will take effect Thursday.

"Because of the extraordinary high level of COVID-19 in the Los Angeles area, it is no longer safe and appropriate to have any students on campus,'' Beutner said. 'We will also be asking those who are currently working at schools to work from home if at all possible for the rest of the semester.

"This is greatly disappointing to all who have been working so hard to build a proper foundation for students' return to campus,'' he said. "Clean schools, proper health protocols and COVID-19 testing for all at schools make a difference but they don't provide immunity to the virus. We can't create a bubble for the school community. When things are so dangerous in the communities we serve, it has implications for schools as well.''

Although school campuses generally remain closed across the county, LAUSD has been offering limited in-person tutoring for small groups of high-need students, along with child care programs. The regional stay-at-home order that took effect late Sunday night allows schools that have proper authorization to continue offering in-person instruction.

But Beutner pointed to the soaring case numbers in Los Angeles County -- which set another record Sunday by topping 10,000 -- in announcing a shuttering of on-campus instruction.

The district will continue to operate its Grab & Go Food Centers, which have distributed more than 85 million meals to students and their families during the pandemic.

While shuttering in-person instruction, Beutner said the district is continuing to make plans for an eventual return of students to classrooms, and he called on state and federal authorities to pony up funding to make campuses safe. He outlined what he called a "Marshall Plan for Schools'' that involves:

-- cleaning and sanitizing of school facilities and protective equipment for students and staff;

-- school-based COVID-19 testing and contact tracing;

-- mental-health support for students; and

-- funding for in-person instruction next summer to help students make up for lost instruction during remote learning.