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A surge of parents seeking remote learning for their children has overwhelmed public school programs in Los Angeles, causing teacher shortages, administrative snafus and enrollment delays that in some cases have kept students out of school for weeks.

The L.A. Unified School District program, called City of Angels, was an already existing independent study program that was adapted this school year to serve parents unable or unwilling to return their children to in-person classes due to ongoing pandemic-related safety concerns. The program has been sought out by many parents who have children with special needs as well as health issues.

But a large number of the 15,000 students enrolled have experienced a range of problems as the district grapples with teaching vacancies and cumbersome state guidelines that have created difficulties for school districts across California.

While thousands of parents have successfully enrolled their children, others appear to have struggled with the process, with many who seek help unable to get responses from phone calls and emails. Many children have missed days of instruction and, in the most extreme cases, have been unable to attend school for weeks. And many have faced repeated disruptions as newly hired teachers tried to figure out the system or as substitute teachers were replaced, one after another.

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