Los Angeles has reached the threshold of COVID-19 cases required to reopen schools, but individual districts must now plan how to return to in-class instruction.
After the health department reported five consecutive days of less than 25 new cases per 400,000 people, elementary school campuses have received the all-clear to reopen fully. The schools can immediately reopen as long as they submit and post necessary paperwork with county and state officials. For this, District officials and teachers’ unions must agree on what the return to campus will look like.
The vaccination of teachers remained a considerable concern for unions. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced that teachers would become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Marc1. Although, teachers will likely face barriers as supplies of the vaccine remain limited and competition for the vaccine grows. Child-care workers, food and agriculture workers, law enforcement, and other emergency responders will also join the eligible workers’ pool to be vaccinated.
Ferrer said 12 districts have already submitted safety plans for reopening and had been approved by the county, including the Los Angeles Unified School District.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said the district’s plan includes retrofitting 80 million square feet of space of school buildings to properly filter the air, providing masks and PPE, cleaning and sanitizing every room in every school, reconfiguring classrooms to allow proper social distancing and creating a school-based COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program.
Beutner added that LAUSD’s first school-based COVID-19 vaccination center opened on Wednesday at Roybal Learning Center near downtown Los Angeles. The site will administer Moderna vaccines.