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Los Angeles Times+ Your Authors @latimes Bringing L.A. to the world and the world to L.A. Subscribe now: Jul. 13, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

Breaking: L.A. campuses will not reopen for classes on Aug. 18, and the nation’s second-largest school system will continue with online learning until further notice. 

As COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket in L.A. County, Supt. Austin Beutner said the school district could not protect the health and safety of students and some half a million K-12 students and 75,000 employees.

Beutner added that it was important to let families and district employees know so that they could prepare for the rapidly approaching start of the school year, only five weeks away. 

The superintendent also pointedly called for county, state and federal officials to provide leadership and funding for regular coronavirus testing and contact tracing. 

The decision pitted two imperatives against each other: the need to reduce health risks versus the need to return students to classrooms — where, experts say, they will learn more effectively. 

Last week, the teachers union in L.A.’s leadership called for campuses to remain closed. And 83% of teachers agreed in a one-day snap poll; about 56% of union members participated in that survey. 

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