Students stayed home in the spring, but there’s hope for the fall

| June 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

BOARD OF EDUCATION member Nick Melvoin and LAUSD kids with aspirations.

Classrooms (mostly) opened, but the students stayed away. That’s the dismal reality facing many local schools, according to the “Los Angeles Times,” which found last month that only seven percent of high school students and about 30 percent of elementary school children had returned to a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campus.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner addressed the issue in a May 4 statement, saying: “While we have worked tirelessly to reopen schools, many students are not yet back in school classrooms.”

Looking forward, Buetner said that come August, and the start of a new school year, things “should be different.”

LAUSD board member

To learn more, the Chronicle met virtually over Zoom with LAUSD District Four Board Member, and local resident, Nick Melvoin last month to discuss this issue and more.

Why aren’t more kids in the classroom? “It’s a good question,” says Melvoin.

“I’m disappointed in that more kids should be back in school,” he continued. “But I know that there is still fear out there, and I know that there’s been a lot of talk about how dangerous schools can be during a pandemic.”

Melvoin says that he and his fellow LAUSD board members are working to change that perception by sponsoring programs that bring parents and students back to campus: “We are trying to use the infrastructure to get parents back on campus, and to be comfortable to be there.”

NICK Melvoin talks about post-Covid re-openings at Van Ness Elementary School with the school’s principal, Pauline Hong.

The LAUSD has put into place a high standard of pandemic safety practices that include upgraded air-filtration systems, extra custodial staff to clean and sanitize schools, adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as a comprehensive system of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at schools, Melvoin explained.

While suggestions to extend the school year were axed after the teacher’s union (United Teachers Los Angeles) opposed the idea, noting that about three-quarters of its members were against such an extension, Melvoin is hopeful that more families take advantage of the LAUSD summer learning programs.

In fact, the LAUSD this summer is providing all current students with in-person and online summer learning opportunities that combine academic instruction with virtual activities. Visit to learn more.

“We should have some semblance of normalcy by fall,” said Melvoin. “To me, that means a full day of class.”

To read more from Melvoin, find his guest column in this month’s special Graduation section.

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Category: People

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