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LA County to let elementary schools reopen with waiver or safety plan, official says

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LA County schools were greenlighted to reopen Tuesday after officials said the state of California was on track to reach the threshold necessary to resume in-person learning.

“LA County has officially reached the State’s threshold for reopening elementary schools. Starting tomorrow, schools can reopen for grades K-6 if they have a waiver or submitted their COVID Safety Plans in advance,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a tweet.

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said that in order for elementary schools to reopen there must be a rate of 25 COVID-19 cases or fewer for every 100,000 people in the county.

As of Sunday, the statewide metric measured 34 positive cases per day per 100,000 people. 

“This is what we have been working toward. Thank you to everyone who has worn your masks and kept your distance,” Hahn said. “Case rates in LA County are dropping. Now we can continue the work of getting our kids and teachers safely back in classrooms where they belong.”

The announcement comes as some teachers’ unions argue that educators shouldn’t be forced back into the classroom without a vaccination, despite CDC guidance indicating it’s not a necessity for in-person teaching to resume safely. 

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Instead, the CDC has urged people to continue to wear masks and practice proper hygiene to mitigate the spread of the virus, which has slammed California particularly hard in recent months. 

Meanwhile, the LA Unified School District, the second-largest of its kind in the U.S. after New York’s, held firm on keeping schools closed until teachers have been vaccinated. 

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“Making schools a priority also means vaccinations for all who work in schools. California is providing vaccinations for cannabis delivery drivers but not school bus drivers and teachers. How does that make sense?” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said on Monday. 

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