LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Rapid declines in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are making health officials in Los Angeles give the green light to opening schools again.
“I’m encouraged with the recent progress that the residents of Los Angeles County have made in combating the pandemic,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis Tuesday. “We have hit the state’s threshold required to reopen schools for in-person instruction: five consecutive days with an average case rate of fewer than 25 cases per 100,000.”READ MORE: Palmdale Man Arrested In Attempted Kidnapping On Tuesday
But what does a realistic timeline look like for schools in the county to reopen? Students have been learning remotely for nearly a year in L.A. through the pandemic.
The continued openings of massive vaccination sites are improving California’s virus numbers, even as demand for vaccines far exceeds capacity.
There is currently a stepped-up effort to get teachers vaccinated. The stadium that is the home of the Rams and Chargers, SoFi Stadium, could become a massive vaccination site just for teachers.
“We’ll have that capacity at Hollywood Park quite quickly,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner Wednesday. “As quickly as possible, whether the number of doses comes or not we do know yet know.”
The proposal still needs approval from the county. Beutner added if the district can get 25,000 vaccines for teachers they would be ready to reopen classrooms within 50 days.
But some parents said that the timeline is too long, and they want to see kids back in the classroom sooner.READ MORE: Kat Von D Closing West Hollywood Tattoo Shop, Moving To Indiana
“Where is our leadership? Where is the urgency?” Said Danna Rosenthal, an L.A.U.S.D. parent. “After 11 months they are still not opening the schools. They don’t have excuses anymore.”
Rosenthal’s son said he misses seeing his friends in person and learning properly.
Although meeting the threshold allows elementary schools to reopen, it does not require them to do so. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday that about a dozen of the 80 school districts in the county have already had reopening plans approved, and plans for two more districts were being reviewed.
A total of 173 private or charter schools have also had plans approved, with seven other private/charters awaiting approval of their plans.
Ferrer noted that L.A.U.S.D. is among the districts that have had safety plans approved. The others, according to the county’s website, are ABC Unified, Compton Unified, La Canada Unified, Palmdale, San Marino Unified, Saugus Union, Temple City Unified, West Covina Unified, Westside Union, and Wiseburn Unified.
L.A.U.S.D., however, will not be immediately returning to in-person instruction, given the demand by United Teachers Los Angeles that teachers and school staff be vaccinated first. The union also wants campuses to remain closed until the county’s COVID case rate drops to seven cases per 100,000 residents — low enough to move the county out of the restrictive “purple” tier of the state’s economic reopening roadmap.MORE NEWS: Los Angeles Receives $224 Million Loan From EPA For Water Recycling Project
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)