Update 3/13/20: The Los Angeles Unified School District is closing schools effective March 16. Officials are offering assistance to working parents who need childcare and students who rely on school meals by creating 40 resource centers throughout Los Angeles. To find out hours, stipulations and locations, go to LAUSD's official web site.
Don't panic parents. The Los Angeles Unified School District hasn't shuttered its learning institutions as of yet. But if LAUSD, the second-largest school system in the country, does close its schools because of a coronavirus outbreak, district leaders have partnered with local PBS affiliates KCET and SoCal KOCE to teach kids via television, the Los Angeles Times reports.
As a part of the televised curriculum, Ken Burns' documentaries would double as history and government classes, for instance, because many of his films come prepackaged with syllabuses for academic study. LAUSD has even prearranged instruction by grade so that KCET would handle high-school level programming, the L.A. Unified-operated PBS affiliate KLCS would teach students from the third to the eighth grade, and kids in preschool to second grade would get instruction from KOCE.
Some educational critics might consider LAUSD's televised coronavirus contingency plan antiquated, but L.A. Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said 25 percent of LAUSD students live in homes without sufficient broadband access for internet-based academic studies, and the district doesn't have enough devices for students to take home. LAUSD and local PBS affiliates have been working on the contingency plan since Monday.
School systems across the country are scrambling to figure out back-up plans if classrooms have to close because of the coronavirus. And a growing list of private schools in and around Los Angeles have proactively closed their doors until further notice. On the college level, more than 100 universities across America have shut down and moved to online instruction, according to USA Today.