Updated on April 13, 2020, 10 pm.:

L.A. parents knew it was coming. With what would have been Spring break now behind students in the Los Angeles Unified School District,  superintendent Austin Beutner announced today that school will remain closed now through Summer, canceling the rest of school year inside classrooms and continuing the current remote learning set-up via computer based instruction, homework and assignments. Beutner’s video announcement this morning also stated that students will not be penalized for not having access to the internet to complete courses, and hence no student will receive a failing grade for this semester. Graduation ceremonies will be conducted virtually, according to Beautner who also assured that the class of 2020 wont miss out on opportunities for college acceptance and financial aid, promising more information to come. The official announcement follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statment on April 1 stating that California schools were “expected” to remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

Updated March 23, 2020, 9:50 a.m.:

Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Austin Beutner announced today schools would remain closed until  May 1, with additional updates to come. He will address the public at 11 a.m.

Original post on March 16, 2 p.m.:

It was only a matter of time. Today, parents of Los Angeles Unified School District students were notified by recorded phone call and email that LAUSD will close all schools, effective Monday, March 16, lasting for two weeks (as of now), in an effort to prevent the spread of covid-19.

Superintendent Austin Beutner cited evidence that the virus is already present “in the communities we serve,” and said that the goal is preventing its spread. “We believe closing the state’s two largest school districts will make an important contribution to this effort. (San Diego Unified School District is also closing).

Beutner referenced lesson plans and instruction packets that will be given out to students today, and that PBS SoCal will be part of the at-home school curriculum. He also provided hotline resources for parents with more questions. His full statement is available via video at LAUSD.net. We also share it here:

The public health crisis created by the coronavirus is not something any of us could reasonably have expected to happen, and we’re in uncharted waters as we work to prevent the spread of the illness. We have been following the guidance of public health experts on how we can keep all who are part of our school community — students, staff, family members and visitors — safe in the midst of a growing health crisis. We are now at a point where the balance has shifted and the appropriate path is to close schools. We are taking this step to keep our school communities safe. Effective Monday, March 16, we will close all Los Angeles Unified public schools for two weeks while we evaluate the appropriate path forward. While our school facilities will be closed, plans are in place for students to continue to learn during this time, and we will open 40 family resource centers to provide care for children if families need it.

This is a difficult decision, but necessary, as we try to slow the spread of the virus. Los Angeles Unified serves a high-needs population, and our schools provide a social safety net for our children. The closing of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instructional time. This is not an easy decision and not one we take lightly.

Each student will have a plan which they will take home with them today and additional support will be provided to assist students as they transition to a different way of learning and teachers to a different way of teaching.

For some students it will be continuing the lesson plan and instruction they have already been working on with their classroom teacher. For others it will be engaging with the curriculum and lessons which we and PBS SoCal will be providing. And for some, it will be a combination of the two.

While our special education centers will also close, students and families will continue to have access to services from the regional centers they currently rely on.

The Family Resource Centers will open on Wednesday, March 18 and will be staffed weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with trained professionals. Children will be able to have a warm meal, engage with their peers and pursue their different studies. And they’ll be safe.

We are developing a family resource guide that we will provide to you before Monday, to help answer your questions.

I want to thank all on our staff who are working tirelessly to help our students and planning for them to remain connected to the school community. We know the adults on a school campus are an important part of a student’s life and will do our best to try and maintain that connection. All employees should rest assured knowing they will still be paid during this time, even if they are not directly involved in providing services to students.

And to our families, we thank you for your patience and trust as we work together to maintain some sense of normalcy in these difficult times. These next two weeks will be difficult and we are not certain what lies ahead after that. You have my unwavering commitment to do all we can do to help you and your children.

We will continue to do our best to keep you informed. Facts and circumstances may change quickly so we encourage you to check our website lausd.net regularly, my Twitter @AustinLASchools or call the following phone hotlines.

For families: (213) 443-1300
For school leaders: (213) 241-2000
For employees: (213) 241-2700

Thank you for your support.

LA Weekly