27 cases in Los Angeles County
By Sam Catanzaro
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has announced a plan in partnership with PBS SoCal and KCET to provide for continuity of learning for students in the event of a significant number of schools closures due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As of Thursday, there are 32 cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. According to LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, none of the known cases have any known connection to LAUSD schools.
“We are implementing, effective immediately, a series of steps based on recommendations from public health officials. All large student and staff gatherings are cancelled, as well as off-campus visits by students and staff to public places where crowds gather. Student events and competitions may continue, though, without spectators,” Beutner said.
According to LAUSD, the partnership with local media will provide 700,000 local students educational resources via television broadcast in the event of significant school closures.
LAUSD says the plan is for all students to have access to free educational resources at home provided by the local public media organizations, both on-air and online, regardless of their broadband access.
“We want to continue to provide the best possible education for our students, even in the event of a significant number of school closures for an extended period of time,” said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner. “So we asked PBS to work with us with a simple goal: We know what good looks like, let’s find a way to share it with our students.”
The public media organizations are collaborating with Los Angeles Unified to create a schedule by working with curriculum leads in subjects such as math and history and developing new online resources that will adhere to the state curriculum, according to the district.
While LAUSD remains in session, Santa Monica College (SMC), the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and many private schools are switching to remote learning as of Wednesday.
In a Wednesday evening news release, SMC said it was temporarily transitioning most in-person classes to a remote learning environment, effective Wednesday, March 18. According to SMC, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at SMC.
SMC classes will be canceled Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 17 to allow time for faculty members, staff and students to prepare for the transition to remote teaching.
SMC remains open for business and most campus operations are continuing. Certain classes that require in-person instruction — some laboratory, physical education and performing arts courses— will continue to meet on campus as scheduled, according to the college.
In addition, SMC has suspended in-person classes and activities at SMC Emeritus saying there will be no in-person classes until further notice. Some Emeritus classes will resume via remote methods, says the college.
K-12 school Crossroads also announced that it will be conducting remote learning. The school is closed to students Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13 to allow staff and faculty time to finalize their remote learning plans.
“We want to stress that there are no known cases of any Crossroads community member having been exposed to COVID-19,” the school said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor events over the next two days and remain in close contact will local health officials, doctors and other advisers to help us make a socially responsible decision. We will let our community know by the end of the day Friday whether School will reopen on Monday or if we will proceed with remote learning.”
On Wednesday, health officials announced the first death from the virus. The individual (a non-resident visiting friends) was an older adult who traveled extensively over the past month, including a long layover in South Korea.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health), the total number of cases in Los Angeles County is 28 as of Thursday.