LA, San Diego Won't Reopen Schools in Fall

Teachers and districts agree it's not safe yet
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2020 3:22 PM CDT
LA, San Diego Won't Reopen Schools in Fall
Students wait outside of John Marshall High School on March 13 after being let out early following an announcement of a district-wide closure caused by the coronavirus threat in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Public schools in San Diego and Los Angeles will not reopen this fall, the two largest districts yet to announce they'll have online classes only. The districts, with a combined 825,000 students, announced their decisions Monday despite the Trump administration pressuring schools to end their coronavirus shutdown and reopen, Axios reports. "There's a public health imperative to keep schools from becoming a petri dish," said the LA school superintendent. Los Angeles County accounts for more than one-third of the coronavirus cases in California, per the New York Times. Over the past week, San Diego County has had twice the number of community outbreaks the state considers tolerable. "The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control," San Diego Unified and Los Angeles Unified said in a statement, per the Union-Tribune.

San Diego officials left themselves an out. They will reassess the situation on Aug. 10, three weeks before online classes begin, to decide whether coronavirus testing and federal funding have expanded enough to open their buildings. Over the weekend, California's COVID-19 death toll crossed 7,000. Teachers' unions throughout the state have resisted returning to classrooms. "It is clear that communities and school districts have not come close to meeting the threshold for a safe return to in-person learning, even under a hybrid model," the California Teachers Association said in a statement. The LA schools chief agreed, per the Los Angeles Times. "We’re going in the wrong direction," he said, adding, "As much as we want to be back at schools and have students back at schools—can’t do it until it's safe and appropriate." (President Trump threatened to take away schools' tax-exempt status.)

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