Reopening L.A. schools amid coronavirus will be pricey
4 min read
fairly difficult
Other major concerns facing L.A. Unified include supplying masks for students and staff, and sanitizing schools, schools Supt. Austin Beutner says.
Although the school year in Los Angeles is set to begin in mid-August, the prospect of opening 900 campuses will rely on solutions for daunting and costly problems — including whether half a million students and their families would be tested for COVID-19, Supt. Austin Beutner said.

"There has been discussion about the need to have students with families tested, but no clear picture yet drawn as to where the tests would be provided and who will pay for them," Beuntner said in an interview. His staff is working with state and local authorities and a team of UCLA experts on reopening protocols.

Two other major concerns include coming up with a plan — and funding — for supplying masks for students and staff, perhaps multiple masks a day for children, and sanitizing schools, he said.

"The top-to-bottom cleaning that will be necessary and appropriate is different than it might have been just a few months ago," Beutner said. "Schools were cleaned every day, but not necessarily sanitized. It's two different things. Sanitizing is more intensive, costs more."


Beutner also spoke of the difficulty of managing students' safely once they return to campus. He referenced research suggesting that a school environment ranks among the settings where infections would be more likely to spread, on par with college dorms and nightclubs.

As for masks: "Where will those come from? Are we buying them?" asked Beutner, who foresees difficult economic times.

The concern over finances is timely. Gov. Gavin Newsom this week is expected to release his revised budget proposal for next year — as measures to combat COVID-19 have decimated the state budget with a…
Howard Blume
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