LOS ANGELES — The 73,000 students in 265 Catholic elementary and high schools throughout the three-county Archdiocese of Los Angeles will continue distance learning through the end of the academic year.

The decision announced Monday follows discussions with public health officials in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, said Paul Escala, senior director and superintendent of schools in the archdiocese.

The schools transitioned to distance learning on March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The archdiocese said it has issued students 20,000 connected iPads in addition to those already provided under a partnership with Sprint that dates to 2016.

Forty archdiocesan schools are serving 16,000 meals a day to poorest students.

Escala said a task force on starting the next school year is being formed.