Planning is underway for high schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District to host their own “safe, socially distanced” outdoor graduation ceremonies and offer summer school this year for all students, Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.
Starting next week, the district will deploy mobile coronavirus vaccination teams over a period of about two weeks to about 250 school sites to get as many shots into students’ arms as possible, Beutner said.
“Ninety percent of people on a school campus at any point in time are children. Herd immunity won’t be reached in schools or in the broader community until children are vaccinated,” Beutner said about the district, which serves almost 650,000 students in schools spread across 710 square miles. Of those students, almost 300,000 are ages 12 and older who are now eligible for the vaccine.
There are also 19 school-based vaccination clinics now open in neighborhoods that have been most impacted by the virus, with vaccines available for eligible students. Those under 18 must have an adult with them.
The district also offers regular COVID-19 testing at school sites for all students and staff.
While campaigning for students to get vaccinated, the district also is beginning to plan commencement ceremonies, which took place virtually last year due to the pandemic. Beutner said graduation is an important part of any child’s journey.
“Now that students are back on campus, plans are coming together … For high school seniors, graduation reflects a lifetime of hard work and provides a chance to recognize athletes, scholars, artists and others who have accomplished many great things,” he said.
Beyond graduation, the district has confirmed that it will offer summer school for all students after the spring semester wraps June 11. The district will offer reading, math, science and English for K-8 students, credit-earning opportunities for high school students, and enrichment classes for all ages and all grades.
In-person summer programs will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for students up to 8th grade to participate in academic classes in the morning and sports, arts and other activities in the afternoon. Students have the option to participate in academic and enrichment classes online.
On-campus and at-home options also will be available for high school students. They can earn credits to get back on track and, for the first time, they will have the opportunity to earn additional credits during the summer to get ahead.
“We are thrilled to be bringing back some of the most popular classes from last summer, including Science of Sports with the Los Angeles Chargers and a Voyage on the Titanic with James Cameron,” Beutner said, noting that partnerships in the community have been instrumental in broadening the summer course offerings.
For example, Fender Play is offering middle school students the opportunity to receive a free acoustic or electric guitar, an electric bass or a ukulele and learn to play, and Illumination is offering an Honors Cartooning and Animation class for high schoolers.
Looking further down the path to recovery and the new school year, which starts in August, Beutner said all students will have the opportunity to participate in on-campus, in-person instruction.
“Full-day programs for both elementary and secondary students will look much like they did prior to the pandemic,” he said. “For students who are unable or choose not to participate at schools for in-person instruction, an online option must remain in place for the school year.
“… We expect the vast majority of students, teachers and staff to be at school every day but recognize we must provide the online opportunity for those who need it. All of our schools are now open, and we want to keep them open and keep them safe.”
Anyone with questions about receiving a free vaccination at a neighborhood school may call the Family Vaccination Hotline at 213-328-3958 or visit LAUSD’s website at achieve.lausd.net/domain/4.