The Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts will start their school years in August, but without students in their classrooms due to the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two largest public school districts in California said in a joint statement that countries where schools have reopened feature declining infection rates and the availability of on-demand testing, neither of which may be said about the state.
“The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control,” the school districts said in the statement.
The school year will start on August 18 in Los Angeles and August 31 in San Diego, as previously scheduled, but only online classes will be held for the safety of students and teachers. Both districts, however, will continue planning for a possible return to in-person classes within the 2020-21 academic year, once conditions are safe.
“We all know the best place for students to learn is in a school setting,” Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. However, he added, “We’re going in the wrong direction. And as much as we want to be back at schools and have students back at schools — can’t do it until it’s safe and appropriate.”
The announcement by the Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts follows Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push for the reopening of public schools and in-person classes despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“American investment in education is a promise to students and their families,” DeVos told Fox News. “If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds.”
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