Downey USD announces plan to start with online teaching this fall semester

The Downey Unified School District announced this week they'll be starting on August 12 with distance learning. The school district will also be ready to transition to on-site teaching at schools when allowed.
DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The Downey Unified School District announced this week they will be starting the school year on August 12 with distance learning.

"We miss our kids. We want them back in school. We would love them to be back in school five days a week. We want to go back to what was," said Dr. John Garcia, superintendent of the school district. "But we also understand that the safety of our students and our staff is absolutely paramount."

The decision was made after Los Angeles County officials and Governor Gavin Newsom shared their back to school guidelines in July, according to school officials.

"We are obviously working and training our staffs to create a much stronger and robust distance learning program than we had when we went out in emergency in March," said Dr. Garcia.

When the school district transitioned to online teaching during the spring, out of the 22,000 students in the district, about 200 were not able to fully participate mostly because of one obstacle, said Dr. Garcia.

"I think we have a real issue that we have to address not just in, in Los Angeles County, but in the state of California in relationship to a student's ability to connect to the internet and have good strong internet connections out there," said Dr. Garcia.

The superintendent said they've sent out a parent survey to get feedback from them on how to improve the students' learning experience. And that the district is addressing issues to ensure equal learning for all.

"We have ordered the hotspots necessary that are able to do that. We're also refreshing some of our older, our older technologies that did not have data enabled cards," said Dr. Garcia "We're refreshing those with devices that now have data capabilities."

School officials said they will be ready to transition to on-site learning at the schools once they've met the criteria put in place by health officials and Governor Newsom.

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