LAUSD Announces No Two-Week Classes to Slow Coronavirus Advance
Many parents breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) closed its schools for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but at the same time they are distressed because the closure is a problem for working parents.
"It is difficult to have them all day, even when my company has given me the opportunity to work from home," he said. Osumi Virgin, a mother with two children, ages 5 and 15.
“I work from seven in the morning until five in the afternoon. It is very difficult for me to focus on my work while at home; and at the same time, take care of my children and put them to do school activities. I am very worried because their education is going to drop, "she added.
What's worse, her two children received three meals at school, breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Now when I finish working I go to the supermarket to buy food, and I find that there is nothing. It is all over. That food shortage is another problem especially when we have children at home all the time, "he said.
The closure of LAUSD schools, the second largest school district in the country with more than 750,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, is something parents have already seen coming.
"It is a difficult decision, but necessary since there is evidence that the virus is already present in communities what we serve and our efforts are aimed at preventing its advance. School closings are an important contribution to this effort, ”said Austin Beutner, LAUSD superintendent.
He added that California has entered a new critical phase in the fight to stop the coronavirus.
To counter the absence from class, each student will have a work plan that they will take home, and additional support will be provided to assist them as they transition to a different way of learning, Austin said.
A very big challenge
Rosa Ismerio is the mother of Priscilla, a four-year-old girl who attends preschool at a Toluca Lake Early Childhood Center in LAUSD; while her 10-year-old daughter Isabella goes to a public school in the Burbank School District. Both school districts have closed their schools for two weeks. LAUSD February 16-27; and the Burbank School District through April.
"I feel calmer because my daughters will be safer and more protected, but at the same time this will affect the family financially because we will only have my husband's income," said Rosa.
She owns the Kidsznowledge Spanish language school for children in the city of Burbank, which will also have to close in response to the disease. “I will not have that income because parents pay for the class that their children take. What I plan to do now is offer online tutoring, "he said.
In addition, he considered that putting his daughters to study at home is a very big challenge. "Then you have to keep them in peace and prevent them from going into a panic with so much information about the coronavirus. We parents have to arm ourselves with patience with the children at home all day; and we are living in an atypical situation because we cannot go to visit any friend from school nor can they come to the house.
To this we must add that when he goes to the supermarket, the food to make snacks for his daughters while they are at home during the day has already run out due to the panic that has arisen among the people due to a possible shortage of food.
Concern for the economy
Cecilia, who prefers not to give her last name, is a mother of two children, aged nine and four. The largest is in the third year of a LAUSD school. He takes the youngest to the preschool of Mission College where the mother takes classes.
"I am fine with the decision to close schools because we do not know the extent of this virus," he said.
As a mother who is a student, you can afford to stay at home with your children, and take your college classes online.
However, she acknowledged that she is distressed that because of the coronavirus, her husband will have his hours cut in the restaurant where he works. "If that happens, we won't have anything to pay the rent and other expenses with."
No less concerned is Rocio Higuera whose two teenage sons, 17 and 16, go to LAUSD high school.
"I had to hire cable television service to entertain themselves after doing their homework at school," he said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti acknowledged that the decision to close schools will be a challenging time for families, and it imposes a burden on teachers and students.
“The City will work with the School District to ensure that children are healthy, safe, and fed during closing. Every employer must give workers the job security and flexibility they need to protect the well-being of their children, ”he said.
They request total closure
The California Teachers Union (CTA) recommended closing all California public schools to stop the coronavirus, and urged state leaders to support school districts, families and communities.
Specifically asked to protect districts from financial penalties for missed school days, to continue serving food for students during closings, suspend state testing this year, and provide support for custodial and personal services such as nurses and counselors.
"To protect students and educators, we believe that closing public schools and community colleges should be one of the security measures to help mitigate the further spread of the virus," said Toby Boyd, president of the CTA.
Catholic schools closed
The Catholic Schools Department of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced that Catholic schools in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties will be closed and will teach distance classes from Tuesday, March 13 through March 31 to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
"Our Catholic schools are an essential element of the Church's mission here in Los Angeles, and we serve nearly 75,000 students, including a large number of low-income and immigrant communities," said Archbishop José H. Gómez.
Although they do not have registered cases of coronavirus in their schools, he mentioned that the temporary closure and remote teaching will protect the health of the public, and will help families and neighbors to be protected from harm.
As of Friday, March 13, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services reported 40 cases of coronavirus and one death. The California Department of Health reported that 247 cases and five deaths have been reported statewide.
For questions related to the coronavirus, families with children in LAUSD can call 213-443-1300 Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. at 5 p.m.