Parents hold protest, Zoom blackout to call on LAUSD to reopen schools

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Parents with the Los Angeles Unified School District held a protest Monday to put pressure on the district to reopen schools.

The parents, many of them with their children, held signs and urged cars driving by in Westwood to honk in support of the district returning to in-person learning.

The district superintendent and the United Teachers Los Angeles union have said they don't want schools to reopen until teachers and staff are vaccinated.

But some parents say their children shouldn't have to wait that long as they endure mental and emotional stress while learning at home. They also note that some other school districts in the state and around the country have reopened.

"What really bothers me is why teachers are given this priority over regular people," said one parent at the protest. "A lot of people, especially essential workers, go to work. And they've been doing it since March. Why are teachers not doing that? Why are they priorizited over us? UTLA is just playing politics."

Also part of the protest was a Zoom blackout on Monday.

United Teachers Los Angeles issued a statement Monday in response to the protest, reading in part: "Let's be clear: the pressure building to return to schools is political. It is not science. Returning to schools without proper health and safety protections will expose our children and our educators to COVID-19, putting families at risk of illness and death."

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner has said in-person classes should not resume until teachers and staff are vaccinated. His latest plan calls for reopening to start by April 9, though it remains unclear if teachers will be vaccinated by then given the uncertainty of local vaccine distribution.

In preparation for that return, the school district is launching a new app, Daily Pass, which will help coordinate COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and health checks in a single tool.

A district statement describes some functions of the app designed by Microsoft: "The Daily Pass generates a unique QR code for each student and staff member that authorizes entry to a specific Los Angeles Unified location for that day only, as long as the individual receives a negative test result for COVID, shows no symptoms and has a temperature under 100 degrees. Upon the individual's arrival to a campus, their QR code is scanned by a Los Angeles Unified school site leader who takes the individual's temperature."
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