This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The pending reopening of K-12 campuses is suddenly at risk because of the ongoing surge of coronavirus cases, and all public and private schools must prepare for students to continue learning entirely from home, Los Angeles County’s top public health official has told local education leaders.

This sobering message was delivered Tuesday by county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, in what she termed an “off the record” phone call with district superintendents and others that was not intended for the media or the public. The Times obtained a recording of the call.

“Every single school district at this point needs to have plans in place to continue distance learning for 100% of the time,” Ferrer told officials from both public and private schools. “We would be irresponsible if we didn’t say to you that you have to have the back-up plan ready.”

Ferrer also said she remained hopeful that campuses could reopen as anticipated and said administrators should continue to develop those plans as well. There are 80 school districts in L.A. County serving about 1.5 million children. And even if campuses cannot reopen to start the school year, the delay might be for weeks rather than a longer period.

Read the full story on