LAUSD Parents Hold Zoom Blackout Protest As District Reaches Deal With Workers On Eventual Reopening – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Parents, frustrated with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s decision not to immediately reopen campuses, held a Zoom blackout protest Monday in Westwood.

Parents of LAUSD students hold a protest in Westwood demanding that schools reopen for in-person learning. Feb. 22, 2021. (CBSLA)

Instead of logging into their Zoom classes, dozens of children and their parents held a protest outside the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard in an effort to put pressure on LAUSD and United Teachers L.A., the teachers union, to resume in-person learning, which has been suspended since last March.

Parents say distance learning has taken a large toll on their children.

“These children are political hostages, they want to go back to school, we are so fed up, all these other cities, all these other countries and states, are figuring out how to reopen,” LAUSD parent Danna Rosenthal told reporters.

Although L.A. County has given permission for all elementary schools to reopen campuses, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner has reiterated that in-person instruction will not resume until teachers and staff in the second-largest school district are vaccinated.

Last week, L.A. County health officials indicated that all teachers in the county will be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning on March 1.

RELATED: Long Beach Unified To Reopen Elementary Schools In Late March

Meanwhile, LAUSD reached an agreement Monday with the SEIU Local 99, the union which represents the district’s food workers, truck drivers and other essential workers, over safety protocols for those employees once campuses do reopen.

The deal says no workers will be required to return to schools without first being offered the vaccine. All workers who are required to return to campuses before classes resume will receive an extra $5 per hour in hero pay.

Any worker who must quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 will get paid sick leave.

The deal also calls for school workers to support reopening schools early for certain student groups, including special needs students, foster youth, English language learners and homeless students. Under the agreement, LAUSD will reopen schools for those groups beginning March 4, “pending all school workers first being offered the vaccine.”

LAUSD last week opened its first school-based COVID-19 vaccination site. It is also working to launch a large-scale vaccine site for all L.A. County teachers at SoFi Stadium.

RELATED: Several Santa Clarita Schools To Welcome Back Young Students For In-Person Learning Monday