Gov. Newsom says schools will likely be out until the fall. LAUSD teachers scramble to adjust

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Palms Elementary School, Los Angeles, March 18, 2020. The main sign says, “School closure March 16-27. Watch news for updates. Wash hands. Be safe.” Photo by Amy Ta.

Governor Gavin Newsom gave a stunning statement on Tuesday: “I would plan and assume that it’s unlikely that many of these schools, few if any, will open before the summer break.”

LAUSD shut down on Monday, along with most other districts across the state.

Brian Lopez, a physics teacher at Garfield High School in East LA, says websites are available for kids to continue learning. He and fellow teachers are using a platform called Schoology to assign and grade work, plus keep in touch with parents.

Looking long term, if he must assign a test, he says he thinks it’ll be an open-book or group exam.

Physics is a tough concept to teach -- and being remote makes it tougher. Lopez says his initial plan is to look up videos for students to view. This also happens to be his first year teaching physics.

He’s maintaining regular contact with other teachers to see how they’re doing, how online learning is happening. He says the big question is: How are we going to teach a new concept or topic online?

We also speak with LAUSD Board member Jackie Goldberg about what schools are doing. She says all 60 of their Grab and Go Food Centers were open at 7:00 AM today, and any child 18 years or younger -- regardless of whether or not they’re in school -- can receive two meals.

She also says schools will begin exploring offering more curriculum via online platforms like YouTube and Skype, or through a partnership with California’s public television stations.

“It’s going to take some planning,” Goldberg says. “We haven’t done it before.”

Goldberg also says the plan is to have all seniors graduate on time without having to repeat a grade, and that high school graduations will occur as soon as it’s safe for large gatherings to take place.

“We’re trying to figure out ways to make sure that seniors can finish the courses they are doing now, so that seniors can graduate on time. Can I guarantee that? Not yet. But I do know it’s on our agenda.”

--Written by Amy Ta and Brian Hardzinski; produced by Brian Hardzinski

Credits

Guests:
Jackie Goldberg - Former President, Los Angeles Unified School Board, Brian Lopez - Garfield High School

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin