LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Austin Beutner is making a call to action, positioning the district as a partner in helping to control the coronavirus pandemic, help families cope and get students back to school safely.
Beutner is demanding the federal government step up immediately and help struggling school districts.
He says elected officials need to approach getting students back to school with the same urgency as any other natural disaster.
Jamie Klein, an LAUSD parent, said after a stressful remote learning experience, she can’t wait until her 6-year-old daughter can return to the classroom.
“I’m not going to lie, I had a mini-breakdown yesterday,” Klein said. “I can’t even imagine what single parents are having to deal with right now.”
Klein was happy to hear Beutner’s plan to have students return to campus once it’s safe and officials provide all the resources needed to do so.
“It makes sense to provide the vaccine to students and their families at a place they trust where they are almost every day, their local neighborhood school,” Klein said.
Beutner shared this message in a news conference on Monday and also took to the national stage writing an op-ed in the Washington Post with the superintendents of the nation’s two other largest public school districts, New York and Chicago.
“A major, coordinated nationwide effort — imagine a Marshall Plan for schools — is needed to return children to public schools quickly in the safest way possible,” Beutner said in the Post.
Educational coach and former teacher and administrator Angela Kelly Robeck says this call to action by Beutner can’t come soon enough.
“Every district is kind of fending for themselves trying to come up with a plan that works with staff students and families,” Robeck said.
She says school leaders have been left to make major decisions during this pandemic under immense pressure without a consistent plan, necessary tools, or financial support.
“The emotional fatigue and pressure these teachers and leaders are feeling will have a long-term effect on education,” she said.
Beutner says part of the problem is that the Cares Act did not designate funding for public school districts and they need money for a lot of things like cleaning and sanitizing these facilities for coronavirus testing and eventually vaccinations.