Students shouldn’t pack their backpacks yet, but Superintendent Austin Beutner of the Los Angeles Unified School District introduced the plan for returning to school in Monday’s Town Hall Meeting.
“Let me start with the how first, which is we’re ready,” said Austin Beutner. “The question is the when, and the when is determined when and if we can meet the state standards for what constitutes a safe school environment.”
In order for a return to school, LAUSD intends to wait until the average adjusted case rate drops to meet the state requirement of seven cases per 100,000 in population. However, as of Jan. 19, the AACR was estimated to be 75.3 per 100,000, which leaves the district with no estimated date or plan to return to school anytime soon.
When returning to school, students will have to practice healthy behaviors at all times to ensure the safety of everyone around them. These behaviors are the everyday tasks most people will be used to by now, wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands frequently. There will also be a routine temperature check for everyone entering the campus.Students will have to get tested once before schools reopen and staff will have to be tested frequently. Only teachers and school staff will need to get vaccinated before returning to any sort of in-person learning as of now.
The next part of the plan to return to schools is a new WebTool called the Daily Pass. It can be accessed through a phone, computer, or tablet and is accessible to all students, staff, and parents. Through it you can schedule appointments for COVID-19 tests and get results in about 24-48 hours. The most important feature of the Daily Pass is the Daily Health Check, which will have a series of questions a student will have to answer prior to entering the campus. The student will receive a QR code with their name, which they will have to present in order to show that they are safe to enter the campus. If a student does not have access to any device, there will be an option for the student to be asked the questions by the person admitting people into the campus.
As for what schools are doing to ensure a quick and safe return, there are preventative measures being taken. Cleaning and sanitizing of each surface in every classroom will be done everyday, on a regular basis and hand sanitizers will be readily available in classrooms and throughout the campuses. Classrooms will be structured with all desks facing in the same direction and six feet apart from each other, as well as having less students per class.
Before in-person learning can happen entirely, the plan is to have some students go to school in the form of hybrid learning. The small cohorts will allow for students to socially distance properly, with one student per every other seat. The intended schedule is that cohorts will attend the physical classroom every other day in either the morning or afternoon. However, if a family or student does not feel comfortable with returning to school whenever it does happen, there will still be the option of virtual learning.