Staff and students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be able to remove their masks indoors starting Wednesday as the district aligns with the state and county's guidance on face coverings.
"Suffice it to say at this point, that based on improved conditions in our community and certainly in our school system as a result of the proactive measures adopted by this board, have led to conditions that have allowed for the significant relaxation of existing protocols," LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the Board of Education Tuesday. "We continue to be guided by science and we are where we are today because of the adoption early adoption of the measures."
Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District Monday night voted overwhelmingly to approve the removal of indoor mask-wearing requirements for students and staff.
Members of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union which represents thousands of LAUSD teachers, voted by a margin of 84% to 16% to approve an agreement with the district that will make masks optional for K-12 students and staff beginning Wednesday.
However, masks will continue to be required for staff and students in preschool programs, since a coronavirus vaccine has not yet been federally approved for children under the age of 5.
The LAUSD Board of Education is expected Tuesday to approve the deal.
The agreement, which was first announced Friday, calls for continued weekly COVID testing of all students and staff through the end of the school year with masks "strongly recommended" indoors.
The district also must continue to offer KN95 or N95 masks to any employee who requests them. The district also must provide take-home COVID tests to all students and staff "for baseline testing prior to the beginning of the 2022 spring break."
The agreement will be in place until June 30. Additional talks are expected later to determine protocols for the next school year.
The issue has been a controversial one since the state of California and L.A. County both lifted the mask mandate for school campuses on March 12, but LAUSD kept its requirement in place due to a clause in its labor contract with UTLA which required mask-wearing through the end of the semester.
LAUSD, the second largest school district in the nation, has over 600,000 students and 75,000 staff.
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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