LA County elementary schools could reopen in a matter of weeks, Barbara Ferrer says – KABC-TV

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles County elementary schools could be just weeks away from reopening if coronavirus case rates continue to decline, the county’s top public health official said Wednesday.

Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said if the decline continues, the county could be able to reopen elementary schools for limited in-person instruction in a matter of weeks.

She said for schools to reopen for students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade, the county needs to have an average new daily case rate of 25 per 100,000 residents – a threshold set by the state. The county’s current rate is 48 per 100,000.

“I do believe it will take us two to three weeks to reduce that rate, and that assumes that everybody continues to do their very best, play by the rules to keep making sure that transmission goes down and not back up,” Ferrer said.

“And the state, along with that case rate, there are a lot of requirements that schools need to be able to meet if they are going to reopen while we’re in the purple sector,” she added.

RELATED: LAUSD pushes back on CDC school reopening report

Ferrer added that the next three to four weeks will be crucial for reopening schools, and that the county must do “everything right” to achieve it.

Eyewitness News reached out for comment to the union representing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers, United Teachers Los Angeles, but has not heard back.

Ferrer’s comment comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that with the right mitigation measures, there is a path to low-risk, in-person learning.

LAUSD officials are pushing back on the guidance. Some local teachers and LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner are not comfortable returning to in-person learning off of that CDC report alone.

Beutner has said in addition to the safety precautions, teachers and staff need to get vaccinated before returning to the classroom.

Vaccination efforts are still hitting road bumps, but California is improving its rollout. After ranking nearly dead last in the nation last week in percentage of the population getting a shot, California is now up to 38th place, with about 7% of the population receiving at least one dose.

That’s more than 2.7 million doses so far, the most in the nation. Nearly 58% of the doses sent to our state have been given out.

While hospitalizations in L.A. County are still high, they are decreasing. Ferrer warned that COVID-19 deaths are still going up, and the county still has a long way to go.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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