LA Teachers Union calls for immediate school closures amid coronavirus concerns

The L.A. Teacher's Union, UTLA, is demanding the Los Angeles Unified School District close immediately amid coronavirus concerns. 

A few private schools announced closures in the area, and on Thursday evening, Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District announced classes will close until Tuesday. The district plans to clean out the 16 schools in the Santa Monica Malibu USD. 

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said the union wants a "proactive, not reactive, approach" to coronavirus from LAUSD. 

"We would like to see and we expect the district to close schools within L.A. rapidly," said Caputo-Pearl.

Late Thursday night, the L.A. Board of Education announced that it would be holding an emergency meeting on March 13 at 7 a.m. to discuss a response to the coronavirus crisis.

UTLA also released "10 Common Good Community Demands" including 15 additional paid sick days for all L.A. County workers, a creation of a food supply network, and a weekly disaster stipend. 

Meanwhile, Superintendent, Austin Beutner announced a plan to work with PBS SoCal and KCET to provide educational programming for students from home in the case of a closure. 

"As of now, it is appropriate for schools to remain open with a few exceptions to the schedule. We're planning as we must do in the event we need to close a school or many schools, said Beutner after emphasizing there are no cases of coronavirus in the district. 

PBS SoCal and KCET are prepared to begin providing content to students next week. 

"We're looking at a really unique situation where we [LAUSD] are potentially closed and students are at home. One [of the ways to provide content] is to have a broadcast service that we think will reach everybody and the second is to have an online library so students that do have access can get to a rich range of resources," said Andrew Russell, the President and CEO of PBS SoCal and KCET. 

The initiative will include three local public media channels that will broadcast content targeted to kids Pre-K through the 12th grade. 

LAUSD serves almost 700,000 students with diverse backgrounds.

"80 percent of the families we serve live in poverty and more than a quarter of them do not have access to internet at home," said Beutner. 

The plan aims to curb that issue, but some parents and students still have questions about childcare if LAUSD decides to close. 

The San Francisco Unified School District will close schools March 16 through April 3 due to coronavirus.