April 18, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

COVID-19 surge to keep LAUSD campuses closed in January

The Los Angeles school district will not reopen campuses when the spring semester starts Jan. 11, and in a Monday statement Supt. Austin Beutner provided no timetable for bringing students back to campuses amid the dangerous coronavirus surge and “alarming” data from the district’s own testing program.

“It will not be possible for us to reopen school campuses by the time next semester starts on Jan. 11,” Beutner said in a Monday pre-recorded briefing. “We’ll remain in online-only mode until community health conditions improve significantly.”

His remarks also contained a foreboding data point: 10% of students coming in to school-based campus coronavirus testing sites are positive for the virus.

“The most recent data from our testing program is alarming,” Beutner said. “Over the past week, 5% of adults — who did not report any exposure or symptoms — tested positive, and close to 10% of children.”

He added: “Think about that — 1 in 10 children being tested at schools show no symptoms but have the virus. It’s clear we’re a long way from reopening schools with the level of virus this high.”

L.A. Unified’s decision is in line with those of other large urban school systems in the region.

Although Beutner’s statement made it official, the decision was no surprise — and the teachers union — United Teachers Los Angeles — already has indicated that there will be no full campus reopenings in January as far as the union is concerned.

A union spokesperson also insisted there can’t be a reopening until the union signs off because the issue must be negotiated.