The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education has conceded that its distance-learning plans aren’t perfect for the fall semester, which starts next week.
But now that students and teachers have had time to adjust to the new normal, they hope for a better experience than the abrupt crisis that made spring sessions somewhat haphazard.
School is opening as the number of children infected with the coronavirus is on the rise, according to new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kids now comprise more than 7% of all COVID-19 cases in the country and those statistics have been “steadily increasing” from March to July, CNN reported Saturday. California has the highest overall number of infected people.
“Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared with adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in households and camp settings,” the CDC said. The number of children being hospitalized is also increasing, officials said.
That grim news makes online school the likely option for most students for the foreseeable future.
LAUSD board member George McKenna said he has “no illusions the students will be as well-served … with distance-learning as they would be if they could actually be in a classroom with a teacher.” He added, “All we can do is try to keep our children safe and as well-educated as we can.”
Students will begin LAUSD orientation sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, with attendance taken those days. The first day of actual instruction is Thursday, Aug. 20.
Many schools are again offering free meals to students. LAUSD will continue to offer two free meals at its grab-and-go food centers, Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 11 AM.
Most of the state’s 6.2 million students will be starting school online, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“We are preparing a large strategy, recognizing there are a lot of gaps and inequities that need to be addressed,” Newsom said. “We don’t want people [to just] take their lectures and videotape them and provide them online. This has to be a much more interactive process where we want to bring our students into the screen so they’re truly engaged. We want a more dynamic engagement to the extent possible. We want more specialized learning, especially for those with special needs. We want challenging assignments. We don’t just want people to dial it in.”