coronavirus

LA County School Reopening Plan Includes Wearing Face Masks at All Times

Los Angeles County schools are expected to reopen this fall and districts got some guidelines from a local education task force about how to do so safely.

The education task force put together a 45-page framework with guidelines on what districts can do to get students back on campus.

But they stress these are only suggestions and not mandates. Each local district will set their own rules based on local health data.

"I have no doubt schools will be able to reopen, said Debra Duardo, the county superintendent of schools. "It's going to look different."

Duardo says students and parents can expect a lot of changes on campuses this fall throughout the county's 80 school districts.

A task force made up of 25 superintendents has released recommendations to help guide districts on how to safely reopen during the pandemic.

Suggestions include: face masks and temperature checks, one way hallways, lunch in classrooms instead of cafeterias, and smaller class sizes which can be accomplished by staggering school hours and combining online learning with in-person instruction.

Some students might attend class in the morning, others in the afternoon, or they could attend on different days of the week.

But there is no "one size fits all." Each district will create its own rules in cooperation with local health officials.

"These decisions need to be made locally because it looks very different across the state," Duardo said. "Even LA County, based on the number of COVID cases and how prepared a community is."

United Teachers Los Angeles, which also is fighting against the $13 million proposed budget cuts, issued a response to the framework document Wednesday afternoon, with union representatives noting that school reopenings must be bargained with UTLA.

"We are surveying our members on their priorities; working closely with parents, youth and community organizations on their priorities; and then taking these priorities into that bargaining,'' UTLA officials said.

"Educators want more than anything to be back in schools with our students …

but we also understand deeply that the only way this can happen is if schools are healthy, safe and improved.''

Union reps emphasized that schools need more money, not budget cuts, to guarantee a safe return to classrooms.

"There is no vision for a safe reopening that does not involve additional resources for schools -- resources to implement social distancing and other safety guidelines and funding for the additional support our students need in the wake of this crisis."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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