LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Despite a financial incentive, it’s still unclear if elementary schools will reopen on April 9, the target date set by Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner.
“I walked and I just started crying,” said LAUSD teacher Heidi Arvine. “This is just a step in the right direction”READ MORE: The Cosmopolitan In Las Vegas To Pay $1 Million In Cash Bonuses If 80% Of Workers Get Vaccinated
Arvine took a selfie after she got her first COVID vaccine shot during the mass effort to inoculate L.A. teachers and school workers at locations like Panorama High School.
Beutner has set a target date of April 9 to reopen all elementary schools on the condition that 25,000 staffers are fully vaccinated.
Renee Bailey, who has two children at schools in South L.A. was asked if she feels like elementary schools are going to reopen by the date set by the superintendent.
Bailey said, “Absolutely not.”
She blames the union representing L.A. teachers for not budging on demands like having L.A. County move out of the purple tier and into the less-restrictive red tier.
While UTLA has taken issue with Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to offer financial incentives to schools that reopen by April 1.
“That money will only go to white and wealthier schools that do not have the transmission rates that low-income Black and brown communities do,” said UTLA President Cecily Myart Cruz.READ MORE: National Health Foundation Hosts Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic For Pico-Union Residents
But Newsom pushed back Monday night against those opposed to the reopening plan during a visit to a Ventura County vaccination site.
“I understand the fear and anxiety,” he said. “I care deeply about these folks. We want to keep them healthy and safe. We just have to prove it, can’t assert it.”
“It’s truly the lost generation in the Black and brown community,” said Bailey.
Bailey says reopening campuses shouldn’t be delayed because her kids are struggling with distance learning and many of their peers are falling behind
“A lot of their parents are essential workers,” she said. “Their parents are not home to provide supervision or even tutoring or extra resources to keep their children academically on track.”
In the meantime, Arvine – who works in Sylmar – says vaccination is important because she cannot maintain six feet of distance while teaching pre-kindergarteners.
“The areas we teach in have a very high population of people getting COVID,” Arvine said. “My own students have already had COVID.”MORE NEWS: Restraining Order Issued Against Atlas Metal; Mountain Of Scrap Metal Towering Over Jordan High School Called A 'Public Nuisance'
The union is still negotiating with the district on when to re-start in-person learning. The state’s goal of April 1 is tied to additional funding, and every day after that, the district will lose a percentage of those dollars.