A loophole lets students use pandemic-shuttered classrooms

Aug 23, 2020 by

Five-year-old Jameson Miniex twisted his fingers into his curly hair, watching with rapt attention as a teacher in a blush-colored hijab read a book for the first day of school.

Around him, other Los Angeles Unified School District kindergartners scribbled their assignments and stretched their hands in the air, each working behind a clear plastic partition that is now as much a part of school’s visual lexicon as milk pints and chalkboards.

But these L.A. students aren’t back in school. Instead, they’ve joined thousands of youngsters who log into class from day camps and tutoring programs such as this one — many alongside their pre-COVID classmates, and some in the very classrooms that were shuttered by the pandemic.

“We were one of the first in the state to provide camps to the children of first responders,” said Sir Robinson, co-director of camps for STAR Education, the academic nonprofit that runs Jameson’s program and others like it around the state. “Now we’re acquiring new buildings and making sure they can hold the highest number of children as safely as possible.”

Like all child care, day camps are considered essential in California. But with school starting remotely and private tutors reserved for a rarified few, many public school children have returned to modified summer camps and after-school programs for the fall, in what Professor Artineh Samkian of USC Rossier School of Education called “a middle-class version” of expensive backyard pods. In many cases, what were once their classrooms have been converted into day cares for the children of district employees, while many private schools have transformed into camps for the term.

Source: A loophole lets students use pandemic-shuttered classrooms – Los Angeles Times

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