On Eyewitness Newsmakers, Superintendent Austin Beutner said when teaching went online in March, it was like trying to fix the wiring on a plane while the plane is in the air.
"While students were learning in the summer, so were our teachers. How do we engage, how to use the different tools and technologies?" He added, "We have better connected the tools and technologies to simplify how they're used in the classroom. So, I think you'll see continued progress, but there's no substitute for being in a school setting."
It was reported that L.A. Public health may give waivers to school districts to get K-through-sixth-grade students back in the classroom if certain conditions are met. They would include agreements from teachers and parents. Young elementary students are believed to be less affected by COVID-19 and they transmit it less than teenagers. Beutner would not comment directly on the report, but he doesn't disagree with the goal. He said he needs see the recommendation and get the facts.
Some LA County elementary classrooms could reopen under waiver program
"Our goal is the same. Let's get students back as soon as we can do so safely, as we learn more about this potential new guidance. We'll try to better understand it and will communicate as we've done throughout a real time basis with all research. We're going to be based on science. We've continued to be based on science fact, not science fiction. Let's see what the guidance says. Let's see how it applies to the communities we serve," Beutner said.
Right now, Congress is considering a $1 trillion relief package. Beutner asked If we knew we could open schools more quickly at a higher level of safety, wouldn't it be worth taking $15 or $20 billion out of that trillion to test every student for COVID? He said it should be an essential piece of that trillion-dollar package. Beutner says testing is the key to getting the nation's schoolchildren back in the classroom is testing.
He said, "The Dodgers are being tested to go back to work. Why aren't we testing teachers and students to go back to schools when we know children can carry the virus?"
Beutner added, "We know it's highly contagious. We know that people with and without symptoms can carry the virus. So if we're only keeping those who show symptoms out of the school community, it's not as safe as it could be if we tested all who came back, and I think that's the responsibility of the federal government."
LAUSD superintendent believes testing, contact tracing are keys to reopening