LBUSD changes course, will start fall semester online

The Long Beach Unified School District on Tuesday announced a significant shift in its fall semester reopening plan: An email sent to members of the LBUSD staff says the district’s classes will be online only when they resume Sept. 1, and they’ll stay that way until at least Oct. 5.

The email to staff states: “We know that you share our disappointment that we will not be able to offer in-person instruction at the start of the school year, but given the circumstances, we need to delay the physical reopening of our schools as a prudent precaution.”

The plan the LBUSD had rolled out last week included several options for parents ranging from all online learning to in-person, including five days a week of in-person instruction for elementary students.

Parents were originally going to begin selecting which option they preferred as early as Wednesday. Now, all classes will be online through at least the first week of October—a decision that is in line with school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego, which announced Monday that campuses would be closed at the start of the fall semester.

The LBUSD will continue to offer childcare services as planned through its Child Development and Head Start centers, according to the email. A full third of the district’s teachers listed childcare for their own children as being the biggest challenge to the online learning they provided in the spring, according to a district survey.

Districts throughout the state took the unprecedented step of closing campuses in mid-March as coronavirus infections began to climb. After several weeks of strict stay-at-home orders, new cases and hospitalizations remained stable, giving hope that schools and businesses could reopen.

But as the state began loosen restrictions this spring and early summer, positive tests again began to climb.

As of Tuesday, Long Beach has had a total of 5,849 positive cases and 151 deaths due to COVID-19.

“The school district continues to plan for in-person instruction and related safety measures for some point in the future,” LBUSD officials said in an email to parents Tuesday afternoon.

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