The union representing Los Angeles Unified teachers told its members it met with district representatives on Friday, Nov. 19 to discuss the recent announcement that the district plans to implement some health and safety measures from COVID-19 next semester. -19 to relax. to decreasing new cases and increasing vaccination rates – including the fact that all staff and most students aged 12 and older on campuses will be fully vaccinated by then.
But with a potential winter surge in cases brewing, especially if people attend family gatherings or travel in the coming weeks, United Teachers Los Angeles wants the district to hold off on major changes until an analysis is completed on the potential impact of such vacation activities.
“We call on the district to delay major changes pending full information on current infection and transmission rates and an analysis of the potential impact of the upcoming holiday breaks on the community’s COVID level,” UTLA wrote in a statement. update to its members. .
“While positive rates for COVID have generally declined and school attendance rates have been low, travel and family gatherings are expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels in November and December, and time will be needed to process the effects of a potential winter wave. ‘ the email continued.
Protocols that district administrators say will change in January include:
– Require only unvaccinated students to continue with weekly COVID-19 testing. This semester, all campus staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, were required to undergo weekly testing.
–Allow students to remove their masks outdoors in schools with at least 85% vaccination coverage. This means that all high schools, many high schools, and some elementary campuses can allow students to take off their masks while they are outside.
– Automatically prohibiting unvaccinated students from attending school in person if they are in close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus. Instead, if the unvaccinated student shows no symptoms and the close contact was not part of a viral outbreak, they may continue to come to class in person under a “modified quarantine” scenario in accordance with county guidelines.
The announcement about the protocol changes, made during Tuesday’s school board meeting, received mixed reactions from a local advocacy group.
Parents who support teachers — which includes both parents and educators — said that while the group supports most of the planned changes, they want the district to reconsider its current plan to allow only unvaccinated students to participate in a baseline COVID-19- test in the first week back from winter vacation.
The group’s co-founders, Jenna Schwartz and Nicolle Fefferman, said parents who support teachers want all students, regardless of vaccination status, to participate in baseline testing.
“Give us the opportunity to return to school knowing where we stand with COVID by testing all students and staff regardless of vaccination,” they said in a statement. “We follow the science, which means we know that breakthrough cases are happening, and that our vaccinated students and staff may have unvaccinated relatives at home. The goal is to get all the kids back to school, so let’s help them feel as safe as possible.”