LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner confirmed the 2020-21 school year will start on August 18 in an interview on Good Day LA Monday.
The superintendent said the start date applies whether students will be back on school campuses or not. Therefore, remote learning may continue depending on the status of the pandemic.
"The new school year will start August 18 whether we’re able to safely return to facilities by then or not…we don’t know yet," he said.
The superintendent made the call to close all district schools on March 19. At the time, there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases at LAUSD schools and there were 50 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles area at the time.
Beutner said the district will continue to work under the guidance of science and is working with UCLA and the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom caught educators by surprise when he announced that schools statewide could reopen as soon as July as a way to address the “learning loss,” that has occurred as a result of the coronavirus crisis as students continue virtual learning.
Beutner said thousands of students have failed to participate in online learning in the nation’s second-largest school district in late March.
The rest of the school year and summer school will continue online.
When asked about potential scenarios such as staggering the school day and spreading out desks to maintain physical distancing, he said: “First science, then scenario.”
The process of adjusting the school day and how school is provided is “complicated,” he said.
Since then, the superintendent said the district has made progress and has connected more students with devices and internet connectivity.
According to Beutner, almost all middle school and high school students are now connected with the technology needed for distance learning.
The next phase will be making sure educators and trained to take their talents online.
“It won’t be perfect. It’s not a substitute for being in the classroom, we all know that,” Beutner said.
The district is taking advantage of empty campuses to improve schools with tasks such as construction work, removing hazardous materials and painting.
“When we’re able to safely return, they’ll be ready for us,” he said.