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Letters to the Editor: There’s no way LAUSD schools could be cleaned enough to stop coronavirus

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Austin Beutner.
Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Austin Beutner announced at a Friday news conference that schools would close.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I believe the Los Angeles Unified School District did an excellent job weighing the effects of a school closure and made a massive effort to mitigate its impact.

Schools are not sanitized to the level required to protect against the coronavirus. The school where I taught went from three full-time custodians to just one. My floors were mopped twice a year, maybe once more if my manager could squeeze it in. Floors were swept once a week, so I brought my own vacuum and bags.

As for washing hands, if time allows it, entire classes are walked to the bathroom, where soap from the morning fill-up may or may not still be available. As for gatherings smaller than 50 people, I don’t think there is a physical education class or a lunch room in the district that has fewer than that many people at a time.

Our plant managers are heroes at making the schools as clean as they are. But sanitizing to stop a virus and washing hands whenever it’s needed? Maybe workers in other jobs enjoy such amenities, but the children of LAUSD do not.

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Melissa Walsh, West Hills

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To the editor: Can we make use of the airwaves to help out in the coronavirus panic?

Pretty much all that is left for fun and education is to watch TV, so let’s preempt all that boring regular programming and give people exciting programming that is unusual and fun, with each company providing for a limited time of the pandemic the most popular content they have.

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We could also turn PBS stations and some cable channels into actual classroom content so kids don’t have to worry about falling behind, and adults who have always wanted to learn that subject could also watch.

We have public airwaves; now it is time to use them to help our country weather this unprecedented situation in which all we have for mass entertainment possibilities is TV. Screens are a proven medium for keeping people entertained, informed and distracted.

It is time to use our public airwaves to their full extent.

Kathryn Pisaro, Granada Hills

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To the editor: Help me out here.

L.A. Unified closed schools to protect children and teachers from the coronavirus. But, it will open 40 family resource centers to provide care for children if families need it.

What’s the difference between kids together in school or kids together in resource centers? This makes no sense.

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Patricia Holden, Vista, Calif.

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To the editor: We commonly see varying opinions on the state of our state.

On the positive side, we hear of us being the fifth-largest economy in the world and an international leader in many areas. From the negative perspective, we hear that California’s high taxes, living expenses and income inequality have contributed to it now being the homelessness capital of the nation.

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The saddest and most telling statistic I have ever read was in your editorial, which notes that about 80% of the LAUSD’s 700,000 students live in poverty.

That sentence stopped me cold, and I reread it several times. I don’t care how many millionaires and billionaires we have in Hollywood or Silicon Valley when four in five children in the state’s largest school district live in poverty.

We live in a failed state. Where are the champions, the leaders, the ideas and the plans to change this?

James Willis, Oxnard


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