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Los Angeles: No Student Will Get an F and Schools Will be Closed Until the Fall

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Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times reports that no student will get an F grade during the coronavirus closure, and schools will remain closed this summer.

Blume writes:

No student will receive a failing grade on their spring report card and Los Angeles campuses will be closed not only for the remainder of the academic year, but throughout the summer as well, the district announced Monday.

The actions are the latest sweeping measures taken by the nation’s second-largest school system in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is still no clear picture in testing, treatments or vaccines and we will not reopen school facilities until state authorities tell us it is safe and appropriate to do so,” L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner said during a Monday video briefing. “The remainder of the school year … will be completed in the current, remote fashion and we will have a summer session in a similar manner.”

The no-fail policy was posted in a late morning bulletin and confirmed by Chief Academic Officer Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, who spoke of educators’ concerns about the family hardships that are likely to limit students’ ability to learn in the district, where 80% of them come from low-income families.

Beutner praised the work of all district staff, especially teachers, during his video briefing, but acknowledged that all students have not had the same access to academic work since campuses closed on March 16.

“Many of the examples we see of successful video learning have a significant selection bias,” Beutner said. “Affluent families with resources at home, schools with years of training and limitless budgets and students with demonstrated aptitude to learn independently. Public schools have in their DNA the commitment to serve all students, irrespective of circumstance, and it will not be so simple.”

The state did not issue a universal mandate on grading, but California Department of Education guidelines say that schools should “enable students to complete state graduation requirements with needed flexibilities” associated with online learning. In their briefings, state officials have stressed that local educators intend to be understanding of students’ situations.

The state guidelines say that schools “should weigh their policies with the lens of equity and with the primary goal of doing no harm to students.”

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