Masks Still Required for LA Students Even After State, County Lift Mandate

By Bill Pan
Bill Pan
Bill Pan
Reporter
Bill Pan is a reporter for The Epoch Times.
March 14, 2022 Updated: March 15, 2022

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) said that it will, at least for now, keep its students masked up even after the end of California’s statewide mask mandate for indoor public places.

This Monday marks the first day many students in California come to school without having to wear a mask. For over 600,000 students of LAUSD, however, an indoor mask mandate remains in place as a result of negotiations between the school district and its teachers’ union.

The second-largest public school district in the nation, LAUSD said it is still working with partners, including United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), to come up with a plan to shift from mask requirements to “strongly recommending” wearing masks indoors. Per a September 2021 agreement, any changes to the district’s health and safety protocols must be negotiated between both the district and the union.

“I am 100 percent committed to upholding our science-based approach to COVID-19 protocols,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who assumed office this February, said in a statement. “I strongly support amending Los Angeles Unified’s previously negotiated agreements to align with current health guidance released by the State of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.”

“Los Angeles Unified continues to take a science-based approach to COVID-19 policy and is currently working with labor partners and other stakeholders to transition from required indoor masking to a strong recommendation for indoor masking,” Carvalho’s statement continued. He didn’t indicate when the indoor mask mandate might phase out.

LAUSD officials will meet with UTLA leaders again on March 16 to discuss the matter, the teachers’ union said, reported Los Angles Daily News.

Throughout the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, the UTLA has been in strong support of restrictive public health measures, including the universal mask mandate and a now-delayed plan to vaccinate all eligible children in the district. It has also pushed back on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attempt to reopen school buildings for in-person instructions, condemning the Democrat for “propagating structural racism.”

Los Angeles isn’t the only big city where the teachers’ union advocates to keep the mask mandate. In the wake of Seattle Public School’s announcement that masks will become optional across the district beginning March 14, the Seattle Education Association criticized the move, claiming that the union was left out of the discussion.

“We are deeply disappointed by Seattle Public Schools’ masking announcement today which is completely contrary to its prior statements and commitments to its educators and the community,” the union’s leadership wrote. “It is particularly frustrating given that we had scheduled to bargain masks all day on Friday, March 11.”

Bill Pan
Reporter
Bill Pan is a reporter for The Epoch Times.