Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Monday the district’s 2020-2021 academic year will begin Aug. 18, but it remains unclear how classes will be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The timing remains uncertain because the science is still uncertain,” Beutner said. “At a minimum, a comprehensive system of testing and contact tracing will need to be in place, and the implications of the testing widely understood, before schools can reopen.”
Beutner said the remainder of this school year’s classes will remain online. There are also discussions among LAUSD officials about holding virtual graduation ceremonies for high school seniors.
Summer classes that will be taught online will begin in mid-June, Beutner saidr. The classes will focus on students who are having the greatest struggles with studying, and there will be rudimentary instruction.
Beutner said making sure students are engaged has been one of the biggest challenges of the district with its online classes, and he said students’ families must play a “critical role” in helping their students learn.
Parents have also been offered training to help their children with the online instruction.
Teachers are also working to develop music classes and other extracurricular instruction, Beutner said.
“The transition to online learning is our moonshot. It’s that important and that difficult,” Beutner said earlier. “And like the astronauts on the Eagle, we’ll all benefit from the learning when all are safely back home, or in the case of our students, safely back in the classroom.”
Beutner said almost all LAUSD educators have completed 10-hour training for teaching online and about half have signed up for additional 30-hour training, which begins Monday.
“We’ve connected almost all of our secondary school students, providing them with a device and internet access, and in another week or 10 days, we will reach that goal for elementary school students. The emphasis now is to help teachers take their talents online,” Beutner said.
The superintendent wrote on Twitter that the district is working with UCLA to plan for a “safe reopening,” but there is no timeline as to when LAUSD will have students return to its facilities.
LAUSD has been providing classes online since mid-March. Since then, LAUSD has provided more than 15 million meals to students who depend on the district’s Grab and Go food centers.