Last Updated on May 27, 2020
The City of Los Angeles has released its plan for reopening public schools, and it would require all students to wear masks for the entirety of each school day, each be given one ball to play with by themselves at recess, the creation of one-way hallways during passing periods, serve lunch in classrooms, and limit classrooms to 16 pupils.
In what the city calls an effort to protect the health and safety of students, Los Angeles has released a 45-page document detailing how schools will reopen and the methodology used to create the plan.
As part of the plan, when schools reopen both students and staff may be required to wear both gloves and masks, and some distance learning, or virtual school, may be required despite traditional schools reopening.
Students will be educated on the proper procedures for wearing masks and gloves, and the schools’ budget will need to be expanded to buy additional clear masks for students who may be hearing impaired or deaf.
Additionally, all staff members, from front office to teachers to custodians, will likely be required to wear some type of mask during their time on school property.
According to another document, it appears the only time a mask may be removed on school property is during lunch, which will take place in class rooms containing no more than 16 students, and then proper hand washing will be required both before removing the mask and after returning it to one’s face.
Schools will also be required to stagger class start and end times to ensure a smaller number of students are in the hallway, institute one-way hallways to limit the flow of traffic, and create new protocols for ingress and egress from school buildings.
In the smaller classes, students will remain separated by at least six feet at all times, and schools will prioritize keeping the same group of students together for entire days. Instead of students moving from classroom to classroom for different classes, instead teachers will move into different classrooms.
Students will also be expected to bring their own supplies and not share, as schools cannot safely provide supplies to students and students cannot safely allow other students to borrow basic supplies including pencils, erasers, paper, or books.
Any activity such as “circle time” that would encourage students to mingle together, breaking the six foot social distancing rule, is to be eliminated entirely.
Recess will also be staggered, and will require students to remain isolated. Students will be given one ball and a specific area, and must entertain themselves with the ball with no social interaction for the duration of the recess.
If a student should become ill while at school, regardless of symptoms the student is to be quarantined in a “sick room” and be given a surgical mask until a parent or authorized individual can remove the student from the building. Then, the student must remain at home for at least 10 days after the initial symptom was discovered, and for an additional three days after the symptom disappears.
Any individual, student or employee, who interacts with a student or employee who may have COVID-19, will also be removed from the school to self quarantine for 14 days.
Mental health screenings will also be instituted to gauge students’ level of trauma, grief, and loss throughout the school year as they become accustomed to their new, isolated lives.
The schools will also need an expanded budget to purchase new, sanitized materials, as well as a new virtual school program for students who are not able to attend brick and mortar institutions.