LAUSD superintendent challenges state, local lawmakers to reopen schools in next 60 days

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner is challenging state and local lawmakers to reopen schools in the next 60 days.

The goal is to bring back about 250,000 young students to campus as soon as possible.

It's been 11 months since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Monday, Beutner detailed what needs to be done to re-open school classrooms. He described it as a 60-day challenge.

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Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino doesn't understand why Los Angeles Unified School District hasn't opened for in-person learning at 25% capacity. He's introducing a motion to instruct the city attorney to look at what legal measures can be taken to get kids back in classrooms.

"Until the community spread of the virus remains below the threshold the state has set for the reopening of schools, our campuses must remain closed. That's the law," Beutner said.

But with schools closed, Beutner is challenging current state guidelines, which have allowed some sectors of the economy to reopen like indoor malls. He suggests they too should be closed if the risk is too great.

Also, Beutner is calling on the need for 25,000 school teachers and staff to be vaccinated.

"It won't be sufficient to vaccinate some school staff now and others far down the road. A bus driver takes students to school, school principal unlocks the front door, teacher leads in the classroom, cafeteria worker prepares lunch and a custodian keeps the school clean. They're all connected at school," he said.

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While most Southland schools remain empty during the pandemic, one elementary school is full of students -- but they're not there to attend class.

"When Governor Gavin Newsom says schools are safe to reopen without vaccines he should also tell us what he believes a safe number of deaths associated with that would be," UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz.

Meantime, L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino is calling for L.A. schools to reopen immediately at 25% capacity without vaccinating teachers.

"I think the superintendent is wrong. The facts and the law are on my side," Buscaino said.

Buscaino's motion instructs the city attorney to look at what legal measures can be taken to get kids back in classrooms.

In a statement Monday, Beutner responded: "Threats of lawsuits, finger-pointing and speech making won't help. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work."

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Los Angeles Unified School District Austin Beutner superintendent says there are no current plans to reopen schools to return to in-person learning anytime soon.

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