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Los Angeles, San Diego Will Not Reopen Classrooms in Fall

Students exit a bus at Venice High School in Los Angeles, Calif., December 2015. (Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters)

The Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced Monday that they will not return to in-person classes next month but will begin the school year with online-only classes over coronavirus concerns.

In Los Angeles, students will start virtual classes on August 18 but will not be called back to the physical classroom, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said. San Diego will start online-only classes on August 31.

“Countries that have managed to safely reopen schools have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing available. California has neither. The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control,” the San Diego Unified and Los Angeles Unified school districts said in a joint statement.

Schools in the Los Angeles and San Diego districts have been closed since March 13, when cases of the coronavirus began across the country. Since then, districts said they have been on a “breakneck pace” to transition to online learning.

Both districts said they plan on starting in-person classes later in the school year “as soon as public health conditions allow” and called on the federal government to provide the resources schools need to reopen.

The Trump administration has threatened to deny federal funding to school districts that refuse to restart in-person classes in the fall.

“This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August,” the statement from the districts said. “It is obviously an even greater disappointment to the many parents who are anxious for their students to resume their education. Most of all, this decision will impact our students in ways that researchers will take years to understand.”

Additionally, the districts said they will create their “own source for reliable scientific information” since the information from the medical and scientific communities has been “vague and conflicting.”

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