LISTEN: LAUSD board member says he's confident schools could reopen with hybrid learning by end of year

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By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO
An Los Angeles Unified School District school board member says he's hopeful the district could get kids back on campus as part of a hybrid learning program before the end of the school year.
 
Nick Melvoin tells KNX that there are a lot of details to be worked out, including getting teachers to go along.
 
He adds that they will also take into account the willingness of parents to send their kids to campuses. He says the must also have all the necessary protective equipment and supplies.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said implementing those plans won't be easy.

Referring to county and state health guidelines, Beutner said kindergarten through fifth-grade in-person instruction will likely be easier to manage, with classes that could be pared down to 12 students or so having the same teacher throughout the day.

It becomes more complicated in high school because students move from classroom to classroom, which could expand the risk of infection of the virus, he said.

"This has big implications for mitigating the risk from an occurrence of the virus," Beutner said, adding that if an outbreak were to occur at the elementary school level, a small fraction of students would have to stay home, compared to high school students who have a roaming schedule.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently announced schools would be able to offer small in-person classes for children with special needs at no more than 10% capacity at a time, with priority being given to students with disabilities and students who are learning to speak English. Those classes for children who need special services could allow at least 200,000 students back to campus across the county.

Beutner again noted a sharp drop in kindergarten enrollment this year, with the number dropping by about 10,000 students compared to last year.

"We've taken unprecedented steps to allow each class in all these early grades, transitional kindergarten through third grade, to stay together to help foster the bond between students and teachers," Beutner said.

"No teachers will be displaced from these classes. It's an unfortunate fact of life that inadequate funding of public schools by the state of California creates these types of issues. Despite the difficulties presented by the state, we're taking this action to protect our youngest learners."

County DPH officials said last week that schools will not be permitted to reopen for full in-person instruction until at least November.

LAUSD recently announced a program that will require COVID-19 testing for all students and all staff at schools, and influenza shots will be provided at schools for free from Anthem and Health Net.

It was not immediately clear if LAUSD has put together a formal plan on what protocols would be put in place before November -- if schools are allowed to reopen for in-person instruction. 

CNS contributed to this story.