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PUSD Suspends Some Programs as Virus Continues to Surge

Athletic conditioning and special ed services for small groups suspended until further notice

Published on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | 9:04 am

As the state prepares to take steps to once again flatten the curve as the coronavirus surges, the Pasadena Unified School District will suspend some services until further notice.

Special education services for small groups of students, which were scheduled to start this week, will not begin as scheduled.

According to Board of Education Vice President Scott Phelps, the district on Monday was contacting the 26 families impacted by the decision to suspend special education services.

In the second move, the district put a hold on athletic conditioning programs at high schools until further notice.

Programs at LEARNs and Blair International Academy programs, which have been open for several weeks, will remain open since students and staff have been familiar with following safety protocols. 

Pasadena Health Department officials visited Blair last week to review safety protocols and approved their implementation.

“The caution is understandable,” Phelps told Pasadena Now. “I do hope that in the near future we will try one of the small groups of special ed students and staff, perhaps with Pasadena public health observing, to see if it is possible and also athletic teams, to see if it is possible to conduct conditioning, again with PPH observing.” 

Pasadena remains in the restrictive purple tier which prohibits schools and some businesses from reopening for indoor business. 

According to Newsom, the state is considering a business curfew which could regulate operating hours at businesses across the state.

Schools in Los Angeles County are being urged to have plans in place to continue distance learning through January.

The Pasadena Unified School District had previously targeted Jan. 11 as the earliest potential date for students to return to PUSD campuses.

The teachers’ union and the district reached a new memorandum of understanding last week that would have allowed teachers to return to class after the state’s emergency orders were lifted. 

Parents have been asked to complete a survey by Sunday regarding whether their children will return to campus in-person or continue with online-only instruction.

L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer advised schools to be prepared to continue distance learning through January.

“I need to ask that every school be prepared for virtual learning, distance learning, in January,” Ferrer told the Los Angeles Times last week.

Newsom said on Monday the state is hitting an “emergency brake” on economic activity, moving 28 counties back to the most restrictive tier of California’s matrix governing business operations.

The move means 41 of the state’s 58 counties are now in the most restrictive “purple” tier, which severely limits capacity at retail establishments, closes fitness centers and forces restaurants to offer only limited outdoor-only service. 

The 41 counties represent 94.1 percent of the state’s population. Before Monday, only 13 counties were in the purple tier.

The re-classifications were to officially take effect Tuesday, according to the governor’s office.

Daily case numbers in the state “have doubled just in the last 10 days. This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic,” Newsom said.

The biggest increase the state had seen previously was in mid-June, when California had a 39.2 percent increase in new cases in one week.

“I hope we never get to the point where our healthcare system is so compromised and so threatened that we have to look backward in time to severe restrictions and additional closures, but I don’t want to rule it out,” said Ferrer.

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