Public schools in Los Angeles will not reopen their campuses for in-person learning anytime before at least January because COVID-19 infection rates are unlikely to fall quickly enough, it has been reported.
The heads of the LA Unified School District told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that even if infection rates dropped to an acceptable level, it would be too disruptive to switch from virtual instruction so close to the end of the fall semester.
‘If you look at a calendar, it would be difficult to do,’ said Board of Education President Richard Vladovic.
‘I think best-case scenario is there’ll be some form of return in January, whatever that is.’
Heather Hernandez teaches her students about social distancing outside the classroom as roughly 40 students returned to St. Maria Goretti Catholic School in Long Beach, California, for in-person instruction on Monday. The school was the first in virus-ravaged LA County to receive a waiver to reopen for in-person instruction up to second grade.
Officials in Los Angles County reported a spike in COVID-19 cases. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that COVID-19 cases in her jurisdiction have jumped from 940 infections per day in early October to nearly 1,200 as of last week
So far, 7,027 residents of Los Angeles County have died of COVID-19, according to health officials
‘It’s more complicated than anyone could imagine on a school site – the complexities and the interrelationships, because of our varied instructional programming.’
State and local health officials have sounded the alarm in recent days as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in several Southern California counties, including Los Angeles, Imperial, San Bernardino, and Riverside.
The climbing COVID-19 rates in California prompted the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to add it to its list of states whose residents will be required to quarantine for two weeks if traveling to the Tri-State Area.
The list includes 40 other states and territories of the country where virus infections are increasing at rapid rates.
LA Unified is the largest public school district in California and the second largest in the nation.
With a budget of more than $7.5billion, it operates 1,302 schools that serve more than 735,000 students. The district also employs more than 26,000 teachers.
New York City’s Department of Education is the largest public school system in the United States.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that just 26 per cent of the system’s 1.1 million students in the city’s public schools have returned to in-person learning – well below expectations, according to The New York Times.
Most students have opted to take online classes, presenting a burdensome dilemma for working parents.
Jackie Goldberg, LA Unified’s vice president, said returning to in-person instruction before January is complicated by other factors, including the need to protect teachers who are at greater health risk.
‘This is finals time for the high-schoolers and the end-of-the-semester assessments for all the other grades,’ Goldberg said.
‘Why would we want to go back in December? Which would be probably the earliest we could possibly go…This is the wrong time to do that.’
While schools in LA Unified remain closed, neighboring counties like Orange and Ventura have allowed students to come back for in-person learning.
Several of the other 27 school districts in Los Angeles County have allowed in-person classes for kindergarten through second grade.
California has seen a new spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, prompting the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to require visitors from the state to quarantine for 14 days
Schools across California closed in March as the state was ramping up virus-related restrictions.
The move to distance learning was rocky for teachers, parents and students, particularly those who lacked the right technology or internet access.
In July, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out sweeping new rules requiring school districts to meet strict criteria for reopening.
One of those criteria was that schools shouldn’t be allowed to open until cases decline for 14 straight days within a county and statewide.
According to the Los Angeles Times coronavirus tracker, new COVID-19 cases in LA County jumped in the past week from 63.4 for every 100,000 residents to 111.3 compared to the previous week.
In San Bernardino, the average case rate jumped from 77.5 to 140.3. In Riverside, the rate soared from 94.4 to 111.5.
LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that COVID-19 cases in her jurisdiction have jumped from 940 infections per day in early October to nearly 1,200 as of last week.
The county said on Tuesday that contact tracing over the last three weeks found 55 per cent of those who knew of a possible exposure to the coronavirus had attended an event or gathering where two or more people were sick.
Statewide, hospitalizations increased 4.7 per cent over the last 14 days and intensive care cases are up 5.9 per cent over the same period.
That contrasts with more than a month of double-digit declines in both categories after the state retrenched this summer and began what officials call a ‘slow and stringent’ approach to reopening businesses.
Source: Daily Mail |World News