LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Although the Los Angeles Unified School District will begin ramping up efforts to provide in-person, small group learning to students in need, the district’s chief confirmed Monday that campuses will not fully reopen until January at the earliest.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Monday that schools will begin providing in-person instruction to students in groups of three as early as this week.
“Until all students are back at schools, we’ll do our best to help those most in need with individual and small group support,” Beutner said in a briefing Monday.
The district has already been providing in-person one-on-one tutoring to students in need, but this week will expand the tutoring model to small groups.
Beginning the week of Nov. 9, LAUSD special education students will also begin receiving small group instruction.
“Special education professionals will conduct assessments for students as well as in-person instruction in small groups,” Beutner said.
The district next week will also begin increasing support services for students who are homeless or in foster care, such as childcare services and meals. Coaches will be able to start running outdoor athletic conditioning sessions for “small, consistent cohorts of students,” the district said.
However, Beutner Monday confirmed that LAUSD will not be reopening campuses for all its students this semester because of the high coronavirus numbers in L.A. County, which remains in the purple, or worst tier, in the state’s COVID-19 metric system. Multiple private schools in L.A. County have already been granted waivers to reopen over the past several weeks. However, to be allowed to reopen all schools, public and private, L.A. County must see its COVID-19 numbers drop enough to get upgraded from the purple to red tier, like its neighbors Orange and Ventura counties. It will then have to maintain its positive trajectory for at least two weeks before schools are given the OK.
“As a practical matter, that means it will not be possible for schools to reopen this semester,” Beutner said. “Under state guidelines, and given the current level of the virus, there’s simply not enough time left in the calendar for the L.A. area to meet the state guidelines before the holidays.”
LAUSD has launched an ambitious $150 million coronavirus program to test all teachers and students in the district. The thousands of employees who are currently working on campuses, along with their children who are in childcare programs at those schools, have already been tested as part of the program.
Once all students are back on campuses for in-person learning, whenever that may be, the district hopes to conduct about 40,000 tests per day. Testing will also be provided to household members of students or staff.
The district has close to 700,000 students and nearly 75,000 teachers and employees working across 1,386 schools.