L.A. and San Diego Public Schools Won’t Open in Fall — Should More Cities Follow Suit?
Should more public schools cancel in-person classes?
by Countable | 7.20.20
California's two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, have announced that they will be online-only this fall. Together, these two school districts enroll about 825,000 students.
Why are LA and San Diego remaining online-only this fall?
- The decision, announced in a joint phone call on July 13, was made in light of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's rollback of California's reopening plans.
- LA school district superintendent Austin Beutner says the decision is due to "a public health imperative to keep schools from becoming a petri dish" for COVID-19 transmission.
Is everyone in agreement with the decision?
- President Donald Trump has denounced LA's decision, saying:
"Schools should be opened. You’re losing a lot of lives by keeping things closed."
- Mahogany Taylor, a 39-year-old mother of two and the president of the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs, says the loss of in-person instruction is particularly harmful to elementary school students (many of whom can't type) and low-income students (who often lack internet access, and who make up nearly 60% of San Diego Unified's students).
- However, at the same time, Taylor noted that a districtwide survey showed that 40% of parents were already planning to insist on remote instruction.
What are other cities doing?
Schools across the country are adopting a range of responses to COVID-19's continued threat this fall:
- Atlanta is expected to adopt a plan for full-time remote learning for at least the first nine weeks of the school year.
- Nashville, which had originally planned to reopen schools five days a week, rolled its reopening plan back on July 9. Under the new plan, Nashville schools will reopen virtually on August 4, and virtual instruction will last until at least Labor Day. When students and teachers return to school buildings, families will have the option to keep their children at home and opt for remote learning.
- New York City, the country's largest school district, plans to provide several days of in-person instruction per week, with students working online from home when not in the classroom.
- Seattle, the original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., plans a hybrid model in which elementary school students receive at least two days per week of in-person instruction while middle and high school students receive at least one day per week of in-person instruction. English learners, children with disabilities, and children living in poverty will be given priority for additional in-school support.
- Chicago, the third-largest school system in the U.S., has yet to announce its reopening plan as of July 13.
Sound off: how should schools conduct classes this fall?
Let us know in the comments: Do you agree with L.A.'s decision to opt for virtual instruction this fall? If you're a parent with children in public school, are you happy with your local schools' reopening plans?
(Image Credit: iStockphoto.com / shaunl)
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