Lytle’s Beauty College in Santa Rosa struggles to survive during classroom closure for coronavirus safety

Economic downturns have often been kinder to Kathy Lytle’s beauty college than to other lines of work.

Job loss can lead people to consider new careers, and a certification to cut hair or work in a nail salon or day spa is a popular choice.

“Generally, when the economy was low, the industry does better,” said Lytle, who for 28 years has owned Lytle’s Beauty College in the Wikiup area north of Santa Rosa. “People want to be retrained.”

It’s a different story, though, when the recession is caused by a pandemic that has not only forced millions of Americans into unemployment, but also shuttered the beauty school’s classrooms for more than six months. Lytle’s decision to suspend online classes and shut down entirely last month has stalled the career paths of its 79 students, leaving them unable to make progress toward their cosmetology and esthetician certifications.

If the school

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