With remote learning continuing in Los Angeles County for at least the remainder of 2020, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors wants the state to provide more support, such as computers, internet access and other resources, for students.
On Tuesday, the board approved a motion brought forth by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, that greenlights sending Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond a letter requesting aid for students, particularly those with special needs, low-income, English learners, homeless or foster youth.
“The closure of schools in L.A. County has severely impacted families and students and has further exacerbated the digital divide in our communities,” said Barger in a prepared statement. “The communities experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases and unemployment due to extended closures are the same communities that are negatively impacted by distance learning.”
Some of the requests include:
- Equitable access to computers, tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots or high-speed internet.
- Access to community resources centers with internet and volunteers to help students on site.
- Set learning plans for foster kids, English language learners and those with individualized education plan needs where distance learning can be compromised.
- Consider bringing support into homes such as in-home child care, tutoring, associate teaching and expanded home visiting.
“We know that learning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, so we must be attentive to the gaps in resources to serve the social, emotional and intellectual needs of every child,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.
The motion also greenlights using county parks and libraries as alternate places of learning for the school year.
“We need to make sure that we give all the tools necessary for these children to not miss getting a strong education,” Barger said. “Our parks and libraries can help in those instances once our health officer orders allow indoor gatherings.”
The motion is set to allow county officials in collaboration with school district superintendents to plan to provide appropriate staffing, supervision and supplemental programming at county sites, providing children with alternative learning environments at Department of Parks and Recreation and Public Library sites.
Staff Writer Emily Alvarenga contributed to this report.