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Hollywood Private Schools Shutter Over Coronavirus, Public Schools Put Families on Alert

UCLA Campus Los Angeles USAUCLA Campus
Max Malandrino/Shutterstock

Multiple private schools across Los Angeles are closing their campuses, as fears over the spread of coronavirus has overtaken the entertainment industry and country at large. And though public schools remain open for now, Jackie Goldberg, a Los Angeles School District board member, wrote a Facebook post on Wednesday warning parents to start planning for closures.

The institutions educate the children of some the most powerful people in entertainment and media, affecting elementary and high school students. Executives on studio lots, within the big talent agencies, and companies across LA exchanged panicked text and emails over the Wednesday closures. Some expressed relief that spring break vacations were already scheduled for March and April, and childcare plans were already in place.

One of the most prominent is perhaps Santa Monica’s Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, which counts Gwyneth Paltrow, Maya Rudolph, Snap, Inc. founder Evan Spiegel and Zooey Deschanel as alumni.

No cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the campus, a school spokesperson confirmed to Variety. The institution will close its doors Thursday and Friday, where it will put finishing touches on online learning arrangement that the administration has been testing for weeks, the spokesperson added.

Harvard-Westlake, with two campuses nestled in the hills of Bel Air and Coldwater Canyon, has similarly closed its doors until further notice. Notable alumni through the decades include Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, ICM Partners CEO Chris Silbermann, Los Angeles Rams CEO Kevin Demoff, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, talent manager Kevin Parker, ABC News president Ben Sherwood, Candice Bergen and even Shirley Temple.

If LAUSD schools were to close, it would affect over 600,000 students. In Goldberg’s Facebook post, she wrote that there have been “no detected cases of coronavirus linked to our school communities so far.”

But, she stressed, “It is not a matter of IF this will happen, but WHEN.” She urged parents to make childcare plans for when the schools close.

Many LAUSD students depend on the meals they get at school, and Goldberg wrote, “To prepare for closures, District personnel are working diligently to ensure the continuation of our students’ education, school-provided meals, and the health and safety of school communities.”

Additional private institutions to be closed or exploring online learning include: North Hollywood’s Oakwood School, Studio City’s Campbell Hall, Mar Vista’s Windward School, Chatsworth’s Sierra Canyon, and Bel Air’s Marymount School.

In addition to secondary institutions, universities including USC and UCLA have suspended classes. Stanford has also closed.