The Unified School Districts of Los Angeles and San Diego announced their plans to resume education in August with online education only on Monday, citing California’s “skyrocketing” coronavirus infection rates during the past few weeks.
Los Angeles and San Diego rank as the two largest public school districts in California, with approximately 706,000 students and 88,000 employees on more than 1,500 campuses. Los Angeles is the second largest school district in the United States.
The two districts closed their schools and switched to online education in mid-March, as the coronavirus epidemic spread in California, days before Governor Gavin Newsom issued the first national prescriptions for stay at home and mandatory closings of workplaces.
In Monday’s joint announcement, the Los Angeles school district said it would resume online education for the new school year on August 18, and San Diego would follow suit on August 31.
Both districts said they would continue to plan to return to class in the next 2020-2021 school year as soon as public health conditions allow.
The joint statement said that most of the current scientific research and public health guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic are “vague and contradictory.” He also highlighted countries that have reopened their schools safely, saying they have done so with lower infection rates and on-demand testing.
“California hasn’t either,” the statement said, adding, “The skyrocketing infection rates in recent weeks make it clear that the pandemic is not under control.”
The announcement came as President Donald Trump, speaking Monday at the White House, said that “schools should be open.” He and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, pushed for the complete reopening of the school despite record virus outbreaks.
Newsom also ordered a massive reduction in state reopening on Monday, the closure of bars and indoor restaurants across the state, and the closure of churches, gymnasiums and hair salons in most countries affected.
The number of people hospitalized in California with COVID-19 has increased by 28% in the past two weeks, with a 20% increase in those requiring intensive care, Newsom said during a conference call with reporters in the capital of the state of Sacramento.
Statewide, 6,485 patients were hospitalized for a coronavirus on Sunday, including 1,833 requiring intensive care, according to state data.