Los Angeles public schools will begin reopening this week. Here’s what you need to know

School officials check out empty classroom for reopening.
Los Angeles Unified School District board member Nick Melvoin visits West Hollywood Elementary School to check out preparations for reopening next week.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
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The Los Angeles Unified School District will begin a phased-in reopening on Monday after more than a year of pandemic-forced school closures. The youngest elementary school students will be welcomed back to campus first. Middle and high school campuses will reopen on April 26. Supt. Austin Beutner has laid out the safety measures that will be in place.

High school students recall their year at home as they prepare to return to campus for the first time since the pandemic began.

April 23, 2021


  • Six-foot distance between desks in all classrooms
  • All students and staff to wear masks and practice social distancing
  • Double the regular campus custodial staff
  • Improved air filters installed on all campuses
  • Added hand sanitizer stations at schools
  • Markers and plexiglass barriers in place to keep people separated


  • Parents must get a free coronavirus test for children prior to their campus return. The pretest — available at sites throughout the district — is mandatory and will be followed by weekly follow-up testing at campuses.
  • Before entering campus, all students must answer screening questions at the entrance or provide this safety check online through Daily Pass, an app that will generate a QR code to enter campus if students report they are free of symptoms.


  • The first two L.A. Unified community vaccination clinics are open at Washington Preparatory High School in South Los Angeles and Lincoln High School in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles. The district is collaborating with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, which will provide the doses of vaccine and the clinical staff to administer the inoculations. A third vaccination center is scheduled to open Friday at Gage Middle School in Huntington Park, in partnership with Northeast Community Clinics.
  • The school district vaccinations will be available immediately to those 16 and older who are family members of students and community members, but supplies are limited.
  • All teachers and other school employees have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and achieve maximum immunity before being required to return to reopened campuses.


  • L.A. Unified will use a rolling reopening schedule, beginning next week with 61 elementary schools and 11 early-education centers. On Monday, there’ll be a quick check-in online, but not a return to campus. Instead, students will work independently the remainder of the day while all school staff — principals, teachers, bus drivers, librarians, counselors, custodians, cafeteria workers and others — review safety protocols and fine-tune schedules.
  • Kindergartners and first-graders at those schools return on Tuesday
  • About three in 10 district students are expected to return based on survey results so far. Middle and high school students represent the greatest percentage who will remain in distance learning. In secondary school, students will not receive in-person instruction but will continue with online learning schedules from one classroom. Many have criticized the offering as “Zoom-in-a-classroom.”
  • The district elected to continue online instruction at middle and high school campuses to limit interaction among students and also to retain the current master schedule at this late date in the school year. Such absolute lack of mixing is not required by health authorities — provided that other safety measures are strictly followed, such as mask wearing and social distancing.


  • A lawsuit filed Wednesday would, if successful, force the district to revise reopening plans to allow for a full-time schedule. Such a lawsuit was successful in San Diego County. A separate lawsuit in L.A. County, filed last week, dealt with some similar issues but was denied a court order Thursday that would have upended the district’s reopening format.
  • Principals are scrambling to make schedules work based on which students are coming back. Some elementary students will be switched to different teachers.