LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After declaring a state of emergency over the coronavirus earlier this week, Los Angeles Unified School District officials Wednesday issued a ban on large gatherings, but did not yet go as far as to cancel in-person classes or close schools.
In a memo to school leaders, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said that any large assembly or gathering, such as an open house, should be canceled or postponed.
“If the gathering has more people than you might find in a classroom, students and staff should not participate,” Beutner wrote.
Any students, staff or visitors who have traveled outside the U.S. were to be excluded from school grounds for a period of 14 days.
Beutner said all sporting events will go forward, but without fans.
All school trips to public venues were to be canceled. All uses of school facilities by outside groups were canceled, along with all professional development and in-person organizational meetings.
As of Wednesday, there have been 28 confirmed coronavirus cases in L.A. County, including one death. None of those have been linked to LAUSD.
On Tuesday, the LAUSD Board of Education declared a state of emergency, which grants the Beutner the power to close schools in the nation’s largest school district if he deems it necessary.
The district also said it is already working on a plan for online learning with a possibility for television programming for students if the schools were to close. This comes as multiple universities and private schools in Southern California have transitioned from in-person classes to online classes.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — is spread from person-to-person through close contact, usually within 6 feet, and mainly via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People are likely most contagious when they are most symptomatic. Coronavirus can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.