Following urging of the state’s top education official, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo Wednesday recommended that school campuses in the county remain closed through the end of the academic year.
Individual districts in the county will decide individually whether to follow the recommendation, but they are likely to do so. Duardo said she consulted with the county’s 80 district superintendents and other education officials.
“Our public health leaders have made it clear that the peak of this pandemic is yet to come,” Duardo said in a statement. “As social distancing practices remain vital, the safety of students and staff must continue to be our top priority.
“Deciding now to keep campuses closed for the remainder of the school year allows our education community to focus on accelerating learning in a remote environment and finding new ways to engage and connect with students.”
On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond sent a letter to superintendents statewide saying it appeared that campuses would have to remain closed for the duration of the school year. He backed those comments Wednesday during a midday news conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Thurmond and Duardo both stressed that while campuses remain closed, school remains in session for students through online and distance-learning programs.
“While not ideal, the distance learning environment is our new reality,” Duardo said. “Distance learning will look different from district to district and school to school. We must be patient with our students, staff and parents as we adjust to this new learning experience.
“However, I feel confident that each day the remote learning experience is improving and we can build on our existing expertise and harness the power of partnerships and collaboration to ensure our young people continue to learn and grow,” she said.
Los Angeles Unified School District campuses are currently expected to remain closed until at least May 1, Superintendent Austin Beutner announced last week.
Beutner said Monday the district is working to expand its connection with students, noting that thousands of them haven’t had any contact with the district since campuses closed.
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