L.A. Teachers Union Wants to Preserve Masks in Schools as State Ends Mandates

L.A. Teachers Union Wants to Preserve Masks in Schools as State Ends Mandates

Students in Los Angeles County public schools will no longer have to wear masks at school after March 11, after county officials announced that they were aligning with California’s decision Monday to drop the mandates.

However, the local teachers’ union, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), wants to preserve masks in the L.A. Unified School District, citing its collective bargaining agreement.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that given the declining infection numbers in the declining omicron wave of the coronavirus, school mask mandates would be dropped, and unvaccinated people would no longer be required to wear their masks indoors, though county officials had independent discretion.

That led L.A. County — which has some of the country’s most restrictive coronavirus policies — to announce that it would join the state in removing mask mandates for school. But while some districts in the county want to cancel the mandates immediately, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools, which includes schools in Los Angeles itself, may be stuck with masks.

The Los Angeles Timesreported:

Los Angeles County health officials on Monday said they will align with the state’s move to end indoor school masking requirements after March 11, giving officials in the county’s 80 schools districts — including L.A. Unified — the ability to make their own decision about whether to continue with local mandates.

The decision sets up a likely conflict in L.A. Unified between those who favor indoor masking rules and those who don’t. The teachers union on Monday said it would be premature to end the mandate.

[O]n Monday after word came from Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement, the county agreed it was time to let school leaders make the decision. The county also agreed with the state’s position of “strongly recommending” continued masking at K-12 and child-care sites.

In L.A. Unified, the teachers union says an earlier agreement will keep masking in place, pending a return to bargaining over the matter.

Many students dislike the masks, which some critics have said impair learning and social development.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Joel B. Pollak