Los Angeles announced on Monday that schools will not reopen in August for the new school year and that distance learning will be maintained due to the increased number of coronavirus cases in the region.
“The health and safety of the school community is not something we can put at risk,” said the superintendent of the second largest American school district, Austin Beutner, in a recorded message. The announcement comes amid pressure from the federal government for schools to reopen in the local autumn, despite records of new ones infected in various parts of the country, including the state of California.
San Diego joined Los Angeles in deciding to start the school year remotely until there are sanitary conditions for resuming face-to-face classes. “The very high rate of infection in recent weeks makes it clear that the pandemic is not under control” in the state, a joint statement from both school districts indicates.
Officials said they would offer more resources for teachers, students and parents to train the virtual model. Free meals will also continue to be distributed in schools.
Los Angeles reports more than 130,000 positive cases of coronavirus, or 40% of the total state of California. President Donald Trump is pushing for a resumption of face-to-face classes at schools and universities across the country, which are studying how to balance the need to reopen with health concerns.
Superintendent Austin Beutner said the government should increase funding for testing and tracking contacts so that schools can reopen safely.