Letters to the Editor: L.A. Times' harsh editorials on LAUSD reopening don't help anyone

·3 min read
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29, 2021: Alaina Ortiz, 17, a senior at Ramon C. Cortines Visual and Performing Arts High School in downtown Los Angeles attends her video editing class on campus for the first time in more than a year, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Students at the school currently have the option of attending class on campus or online. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
A senior attends her video editing class at at Ramon C. Cortines Visual and Performing Arts High School in L.A. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I have followed with interest your editorials on reopening schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I disagree with you. ("Wake up, LAUSD. You have an urgent job to do: saving kids' education," editorial, May 11)

You seem to blame the teachers' union for the muted reopening, and you do not mention the parent survey that supported the district's reopening model. You need to recognize the awful toll this disease took on our LAUSD families and the widespread willingness to just wait until the next school year to start fresh.

Teachers everywhere have watched their students lose parents, grandparents and neighbors. Parents are understandably opting for a cautious approach, knowing full well there are just a few weeks until the school year ends.

I often have my disagreements with LAUSD leadership, but its actions during this crisis have kept thousands of families fed, students and teachers as safe as possible and the local COVID-19 infection rate low. Instead of arguing over the last few weeks of the semester, I suggest you advocate for all the support that will help schools successfully reopen in August.

Melissa Walsh, West Hills

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To the editor: As an LAUSD parent, I was heartened to see your editorial taking the district to task for its myriad reopening failures. However, the editorial board seemed to endorse some of the unscientific excuses that have perpetuated the district's intransigence.

You suggest that remote learning "should" continue. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that it should, especially now that vaccines have been approved for children 12 and up. The harms of continuing remote learning have been well-documented by your paper, and we have indications that L.A. will reach herd immunity this summer.

If any remote learning is allowed, it should be predicated on a medical exemption provided by a doctor for the tiny minority of children who are at high risk from COVID-19. The science points to everyone else being safe and better off with full-time, in-person learning.

Scott Keiner, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Your editorial oversimplified the district's reopening. It is full of assumptions about why students are not returning to campus, and it offers little insight into what is actually happening in our communities.

I saw barely any mention of the legitimate concerns that students and parents have had about the safety of returning to in-person instruction. There was nothing about the financial pressures that have caused many older students to prioritize working over attending school.

I am a teacher, a parent and a graduate of LAUSD. I have spoken with many students, parents and colleagues about this issue, which is a complex and serious matter. Your callous and superficial editorializing does nothing to address the nuances, complexities and seriousness of the issues facing our schools.

Julian Canek Pena-Vargas, Los Angeles

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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