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Local Schools Boost Efforts to Prevent Coronavirus Spread

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

March 12, 2020 -- The School District has cancelled the annual Stairway of the Stars concerts and Santa Monica College (SMC) will cancel classes Friday as it transitions to remote teaching to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

In "the abundance of caution," the School District is also canceling or postponing field trips and overnight trips, as well as gatherings, such as assemblies, open houses, performances, fundraising activities and parent meetings, officials said.

"We have canceled our annual Stairway of the Stars concerts and rehearsals, as these are large gatherings with students from multiple schools involved and large audiences," Superintendent Ben Drati said Wednesday.

All District schools, preschools, before and after-school care and CREST programs remain open, officials said.

"We have not been directed to close any schools at this time," Drati said. "Public school districts in our area including Beverly Hills, Culver City, Los Angeles Unified and Manhattan Beach remain open."

SMC officials announced the school will close from Friday until Tuesday as it prepares to temporarily transition "most in-person classes to a remote learning environment" starting next Wednesday.

"The college will use remote instruction tools such as Canvas, Zoom, and other platforms," SMC officials said.

The college remains open for business and most campus operations are continuing, officials said.

"Certain classes that require in-person instruction -- some, but not all laboratory, physical education, and performing arts courses -- will continue to meet on campus as scheduled."

The measures come after SMC and District officials announced a series of actions early Wednesday to ensure local schools are prepared for a coronavirus outbreak ("SMC, School District Prepare Plans for Remote Classes as Coronavirus Declared Pandemic," March 12, 2020).

They include activating Emergency Operations and taking extra precautions, including enhanced cleaning, to diminish the risk of the virus spreading.

The latest actions come as Los Angeles County reported the first coronavirus death and upped the number of confimed cases of COVID-19 to 28 late Wednesday.

The woman, who was in her sixties, had underlying health issues and had been traveling extensively abroad, including a long layover in South Korea, County Health officials reported.

The woman, who was not a resident of LA County, had been visiting the area.

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