LA County school superintendents ask Gov. Newsom for a practical reopening plan

Eleven Los Angeles County Superintendents sent a letter to the governor, LA County Public  Health Director, and LA County superintendent, asking for changes to the proposed guidelines issued for reopening schools.

The letter was signed by superintendents for Beverly Hills Unified, Hacienda LA Puente Unified, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified, Claremont Unified, Hermosa Beach City School District, Temple City Unified, West Covina Unified, Centinela Valley Union High School District, Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union School District, and Glendora Unified.

In the letter, superintendents said "These unattainable and unrealistic measures will drastically inhibit school districts' ability to reopen in LA County and beyond." Some of the proposed guidelines included all students and adults be kept 6 feet apart in classrooms, adults and children over 2 years old wearing face coverings, no large gatherings, and a 14-day quarantine for the entire class of students upon one positive case identified.

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Kevin Gordon, the President of Capitol Advisors, which advocates for school districts across the state, said districts are facing many challenges. Gordon represents a "handful" of districts that are a part of the letter.

"The things that are being articulated in this letter are simply an outgrowth of frustration that local school leaders have all across Southern California and really across the state. They're between a rock and a hard place. They're being told 'get your schools prepared to reopen and get those kids back,' and at the same time, there's a lot of expenses involved in doing that. Everything's changing and everything's more expensive," said Gordon.

Gordon said there are a lot of concerns districts are facing.

"It's gonna be a big challenge and I think for a lot of districts, particularly the idea that if you can't give me the resources to do stuff right then we're gonna have a real tough time reopening. If you're not gonna fund schools, at least to what we got in the prior year, not to mention all these increased costs, do you really expect us to reopen school?" said Gordon.

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Gordon said there are challenges with distance learning too.

"One of the challenges on distance learning is that it is never gonna be as good as face to face instruction with an instructor and ultimately we want to get back to that place," said Gordon.

Debra Duardo, the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, released a statement regarding the letter:

"I appreciate the enormous challenges facing district leaders as we make plans to reopen schools in a time of uncertainty and under the cloud of budget cuts. For that reason, the Los Angeles County Office of Education brought together a task force of 25 district superintendents and leaders to craft a comprehensive planning tool to help guide local decision-making on the best approach to reopening schools in the fall. We are excited to release that guidance on May 27."

The framework being offered is not a directive.

LACOE remains committed to providing guidance and technical assistance to districts as they develop plans to reopen schools that meet the needs of their diverse communities.