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Nearly 40K Students Are Not Participating In Digital Learning During Coronavirus Closures

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — About two-thirds of high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District are taking part in digital learning programs daily since schools closed earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.

"On any given day, only 68 percent are participating in studies online. Thirty-two percent, or almost 40,000 students, are not," Beutner said.

"About 80 percent of our students come from families who are struggling to get by, and many are not connected to their schools on the internet. Of 120,000 high school students, there are about 15,000 with whom there has been no online contact since school closed."

Beutner said through a partnership with Verizon, the district is working to close the digital divide and make sure families have access to the internet and computers.

In the past few days, they've reconnected 2000 students after device distribution began last week.

Edith Perez, the mother of an LAUSD ninth-grader in South Gate, said she didn't have access to a computer at home.

"I was concerned about it because I don't know what's going to happen with her grades," said Perez.

She said her daughter would go to a friend's house to borrow her computer for the first two weeks.

"I was concerned because maybe the other girl was like 'She cannot come to my house' distancing basically," she said.

Perez said many other parents are in a similar situation and are have called the district for help.

Her daughter's principal called last week and told them to come and pick up a laptop.

Beutner said in addition to providing computers and internet access, they will need to train students, the families, and teachers so they are connected and comfortable using the technology.

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