Back to school is starting earlier than in years past. For LAUSD parents, Aug. 15 is the day kids head back into the classroom for the start of another academic year. 

Banning Senior High School, 527 Lakme Ave., is holding a drive-thru/walk-up back to school event which will include a food giveaway, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13.

While parents make sure their children have all the school supplies they need to succeed, it’s just as important to make sure they are mentality, emotionally and physically prepared for the rigors of academia and daily life. 

In April, the LAUSD Board of Education voted to lengthen the 2022-23 academic year in an effort to make up for lost in-person instructional time due to the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board approved a new calendar that will see the school year end on June 15, 2023. Four instructional days will be targeted for students who need to catch up. To view the entire LAUSD Calendar, visit https://tinyurl.com/5fv96emt.

According to the Community Coalition, one year after Congress passed record funding in COVID-19 relief, an analysis reveals that California school districts so far have spent little of it on efforts to address learning setbacks caused by the pandemic. Data indicates that learning slowed, especially among the youngest students, and gaps in achievement between Black and Hispanic students and their White and Asian peers widened during distance learning in 2020-21. 

According to health experts, Back To School is a perfect time for parents to check in with their children about their mental health. Let them know that heading back to campus for a new school term can be hard for many young people, but that they can talk to parents or other adults if they need help. Once school starts, make sure you know what resources are available for children if they begin to struggle with anxiety, and depression. 

LAUSD officials will not be implementing many of the COVID-19-control measures that have been in effect over the past year. Students and school personnel will no longer need to undergo weekly covid testing. Mask-wearing will still be only strongly recommended indoors, and the district’s covid vaccination requirement for students remains on hold until at least next year. LAUSD will employ a “response testing” protocol for the school year that begins Aug. 15.

Students also will no longer be required to update their health and testing status on the district’s Daily Pass system to access campuses each day. The system will remain to allow students to upload the results of “response testing” or vaccination records. The system will also be used to notify close contacts of a person who has tested positive. To read more about the COVID protocol updates, visit https://achieve.lausd.net/covidfaq.

The Student and Family Wellness Hotline is available to students, families, and staff of LAUSD, during regular school days, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hotline provides support with mental health; accessing food, health insurance, school enrollment, immunizations and other basic needs. Call (213) 241-3840.  

Additional Resources include: The California Youth Crisis Line, at (800) 843-5200; the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Line, at (800) 854-7771; the Crisis Text Line (24/7), Text LA to 741741; Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Survivors of Suicide Attempts, at (424) 362-2901; Survivors After Suicide, at  (424) 362-2912 for adults and (424) 362-2911 for teens.

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