LOS ANGELES – Schools in the Los Angeles County and throughout the state won’t be the same if and when they reopen this fall, with California education officials releasing new safety guidelines Monday that include small classroom cohorts, face masks, virtual field trips, half-empty school buses and other changes to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
“As we prepare to move into the likely reopening of our schools, we provide this guidance as a ‘how to,'” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said about the 55-page document titled “Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools,” which details the need for changes to accommodate physical distancing. [View the document here.]
All schools in the state closed in March due to stay-at-home orders protecting against the spread of COVID-19. Reopening dates have not yet been set.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo said the state’s guidebook contains many of the same considerations included in the 45- page framework released on May 27 on behalf of the county’s 80 school districts. Both sets of guidelines are recommendations only, not requirements — individual school districts are responsible for developing their own reopening plans.
“Both sets of guidelines recognize that the health and safety of students, staff and families must always come first. They are built on the directives of public health authorities and are subject to change as the health crisis evolves,” Duardo said.
“Education leaders must ensure that schools reopen with a focus on safety, well-being and continuity of learning according to the needs of their diverse communities,” Duardo said. “While it is enormously challenging to implement physical distancing in schools, we must make it work given our charge to protect the state’s most precious resource — our children.”
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