In a message posted in a private United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Facebook group, teachers were told, “If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off of Social Media.”
“It is hard to argue that it is unsafe for in-person instruction, if parents and the public see vacation photos and international travel,” the post read.
Two answers were visible in the screenshot shared by a Fox 11 reporter. One said, “Amen.” Another respondent added, “Or better yet, don’t travel on spring break and set an example.”
The group boasts more than 5,700 members and only accepts teachers who are part of the UTLA.
The union told Fox 11 when asked about the post, “We have a diverse membership and they are able to post their views on personal Facebook pages and in this Facebook group—however, UTLA does not monitor nor is responsible for the content.”
Members of UTLA, one of the largest teachers unions in the nation, overwhelmingly voted last week against returning to classrooms unless a number of steps were taken first, including improved ventilation.
Out of 24,580 ballots cast, 91 percent were for resisting “premature and unsafe physical return to school sites,” the union said.
UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a video statement on March 1 that reopening must not happen until Los Angeles County is moved out of the “purple tier” in California’s tiered COVID-19 system.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Purple is the most restrictive tier of the state’s color-coded system, and indicates that the risk level of transmission of the virus is widespread. Of California’s 58 counties, 40 were classified as purple as of March 2, the last day the labels were updated on the state health agency’s website.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said on March 8 that he hopes to reopen middle and high schools in late April, a few weeks after reopening elementary schools.
“The target remains mid-April for preschool and elementary school students, as well as students with learning difficulties and disabilities, and the end of April for secondary schools. Our goal is to do this as soon as possible and in the safest way possible. Not in any way possible, the safest way possible,” he said in a broadcast to students and parents.
More schools across the nation have been reopening in recent weeks as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths drop, with 46.9 percent of K-12 students attending in-person schooling every day, according to Burbio, a company that aggregates school district calendars.
But unions in some areas are insisting on a slew of measures before returning to classrooms. Union officials say the measures are needed to ensure the safety of educators and students. Critics allege teachers are holding out for unrealistic demands.
California sits last in Burbio’s in-person index, meaning it has moved slowly to return to in-person schooling.
While virtually all schools in America closed in spring 2020 during the pandemic, some began reopening several months later.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed a $6.6 billion school reopening bill last week. The legislation provides money to schools that reopen campuses to bolster safety measures. Schools aren’t forced to reopen but those that don’t by April 1 will begin losing 1 percent of the funds they would receive every day they remain closed.