Several parents gathered outside of the Los Angeles Unified School District teachers’ union headquarters on Tuesday, protesting the mask mandate that remains in place and demanding an end to it.
“Stop child abuse,” “My kid my choice,” and “Take masks off now,” were just some of the phrases painted on signs, according to ABC7. The parents are airing their frustrations and blame United Teachers Los Angeles for the indoor mask mandate continuation.
UTLA issued a statement last month, expressing its support for masks being worn in schools.
“LAUSD schools have been the safest and most well equipped in the country because educators and families united to demand critical health and safety protocols,” the union said. “These protocols, like indoor masking, have protected tens of thousands of educators and more than half a million students, along with their families. It is premature to discuss removing these health and safety measures while there are still many unvaccinated youth in our early education programs and schools.”
The union took a vote in late September to secure health and safety protocols, working conditions during the pandemic, as well as a salary increase for members. Of 15,791 ballots, 97 percent said yes to the motion and three percent said no.
Both California and Los Angeles County lifted indoor mask mandate on Saturday, marking Monday as the first school day where masks were not required. As per guidelines, masks remain “strongly recommended,” but not mandated. Individual school districts are given the freedom to maintain the mandate, however.
LAUSD is continuing their indoor mandate—the outdoor mandate has been lifted—despite Superintendent Albert Carvalho’s support for eliminating the requirement.
“I am 100 percent committed to upholding our science-based approach to COVID-19 protocols,” Carvalho said in a statement on Twitter. “I strongly support amending Los Angeles Unified’s previously negotiated agreements to align with current health guidance released by the State of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.”
Local schools have seen a consistent decline in the number of positive tests for students and staff, according to the county Department of Health. In the period between Feb. 28 and Mar. 4, the test positivity rate stood at 0.3 percent, with only 1,381 positive results from 470,000 tests administered at K-12 schools.
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