LASUD leaders tour classrooms as high schools reopen to students

Van Nuys High School students are back in the classroom for the first time Wednesday. 

LAUSD is one of the few urban school districts in California welcoming back high school students. The notable day was marked by a visit from some notable people.

Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond wrapped up his tour of four LAUSD schools at Van Nuys High School.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner was alongside Thurmond during the tours.

First stop: Ms. Peggy Shim's biology class. Six of the ninth-grade students opted for in-person learning.

In the classroom, the desks were taped off to ensure social distancing. In fact, plenty of areas around the school are taped off.

"I feel pretty safe and I know that teachers are vaccinated," said ninth-grader Adriana Acevedo. "I feel comfortable."

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The district also installed air filtration systems, provided PPE, along with COVID-19 vaccine doses and testing to ensure the safety of both students and staff.

"When you can do that, at what is the largest district in our state and the second largest in the nation, I think it sends a powerful message for what is possible for in-person instruction and support to our students," Thurmond said.

The school population for Van Nuys High School is normally around 3,000, but on the first day back, only a few hundred returned. Beutner, who plans to step down as the superintendent at the end of June 2021, is in part, relying on the students to increase the numbers.

"As children hear from their neighbor families, hear from the neighbor down the hall that we’re doing it the right way, I think we’ll see a gradual increase in in-person attendance, in-person instruction, continue through the summer," Beutner said. "By the time August rolls around, full day for everybody... Back to school."

"We truly, truly miss the students," Ms. Shim said.