LA public schools to close for two weeks starting Monday

THE Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second-largest school district in the United States, will close for the next two weeks in light of the growing coronavirus (CoVID-19) pandemic.

Starting Monday, March 16, all public schools in the district will be closed for the coming two weeks, “while we evaluate the appropriate path forward,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in an email to employees on Friday, March 13.

The San Diego Unified School District, considered the second-largest district in the state, also announced its shutdown.

“California has now entered a critical new phase in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Beutner and San Diego Superintendent Cindy Martin said in a joint statement. “There is evidence the virus is already present in the communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread. We believe closing the state’s two largest school districts will make an important contribution to the effort.”

This comes as eight new identified coronavirus cases were reported as of Friday, March 13, bringing the total number of cases in LA County to 40.

A release from the LA County Department of Public Health said that the updated number includes three cases with unidentified sources of exposure, one case who recently traveled to South Korea and four cases pending more investigation. Two of the cases are hospitalized.

Four cases have been also reported in Long Beach, and one case in Pasadena, which have independent city health departments.

The LAUSD serves over 700,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, early education and adult education at over 1,000 schools. During the 2018-19 school year, the district reported 2.1% of its students were of Filipino descent.

The district said it will roll out a virtual learning plan and partner with public media stations to provide educational content for students during the closure period.

Ahead of the announcement, the district announced a partnership with local stations, PBS SoCal and KCET. According to a release, the stations will have the following broadcast schedule: PBS SoCal (Daytime programming from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pre-K through 2nd grade); KLCS-TV (Daytime Programming would highlight content for Pre-K through 12th grade from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with additional educational programming in the evenings); KCET (Daytime programming: 9th grade through 12th grade); and additional educational programming on PBS SoCal and KLCS digital channels.

Forty family resources centers, staffed with trained professionals, will be opened for families who need assistance with childcare starting next Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Children will be able to have a warm meal, engage with their peers and pursue their different studies. And they’ll be safe,” Beutner said in his email.

Postpone, cancel public gatherings

California Governor Gavin Newsom and the state Department of Public Health on Wednesday, March 11 advised that events should be postponed or canceled across the state for the rest of the month.

This includes large gatherings, such as concerts, conferences and sporting events, with 250 or more attendees, and smaller gatherings in venues that don’t allow “social distancing” of six feet per person.

“As with all guidance that relates to COVID-19 response, authorities will revisit this guidance on a regular basis to evaluate the continued public health need for it and to evaluate if any elements need to be changed,” the department said in a release.

The LA County Board of Supervisors and LA City led by Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference on Thursday that they would follow the same policies as it comes to county and city departments and meetings.

The city will stagger entry for visitors in public buildings to no more than 50 at a time — including city museums, libraries, parks, pools, and community centers. Transit locations and similar facilities, including LAX and the Port of Los Angeles, as well as all city shelters, are exempt from this requirement at this time.

Disneyland also announced that it would close until the end of the month for the fourth time in its history.

Officials also reminded residents to stay informed through trusted and official sources for accurate and timely updates, including,, and For more questions, they can call 211, the County’s hotline, which is available 24/7.

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