Friday, November 13, 2020

L.A. schools could face hard shutdown if COVID-19 worsens - Los Angeles Times

L.A. schools could face hard shutdown if COVID-19 worsens - Los Angeles Times
Schools could face a hard shutdown if the COVID-19 surge worsens, officials warn

Campuses at public and private schools in Los Angeles County could once again be forced to shut down completely for in-person instruction if the current COVID-19 spike continues to worsen, health officials warned school leaders Thursday.

Officials in the county’s 80 public school districts, which serve more than 1.43 million students, had hoped to open campuses for general instruction by January, if not sooner. Even in the best-case scenario, it would be extremely unlikely that campuses could reopen to all students for at least six weeks, based on state health guidelines, said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

The schools discussion took place on a day when coronavirus infections in California surpassed 1 million cases, with county rates surging and hospitalizations climbing.

School leaders are being asked to prepare for the worst, even while they ready reopening plans.

“I need to ask that every school be prepared for virtual learning, distance learning, in January,” Ferrer said in a call. “I hope we never get to the point where our healthcare system is so compromised and so threatened that we have to look backwards in time to severe restrictions and additional closures, but I don’t want to rule it out.”

L.A. County’s health data place it firmly in the state’s purple tier — the worst category — which means that community transmission of the coronavirus is widespread. Campuses cannot reopen for all students until a county has entered and remained in the next — or red tier — for two weeks.

In response to skyrocketing infections nationwide, many school districts, including in Wichita, Kan., have imposed new limits on reopening campuses or have shut down again, as in Minneapolis and Boston. Others, including Philadelphia’s school system, have delayed reopening campuses — indefinitely in some instances. Other school systems, including in Florida, remain open or are reopening gradually.

Neither the federal government nor California is collecting comprehensive reopening CONTINUE READING: L.A. schools could face hard shutdown if COVID-19 worsens - Los Angeles Times