Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

School Protest at Mayor’s House

Families protesting to open schools gathered at the Mayor’s Residence in Windsor Square Thursday afternoon.

Estee Cohen, a parent and former teacher, was among a group of parents protesting yesterday at Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Getty House residence in Windsor Square. According to Cohen, a parent of four children at three different local private schools (including Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Hancock Park), eighty precent of the parents at her private schools want their school to open this fall.

Although California Governor Gavin Newsom said last week that schools would not be allowed to re-open unless their county has been off the state’s watch list for coronavirus for at least 14 straight days (a threshold Los Angeles does not yet meet), Cohen said she believes it’s possible to open schools safely and her schools are willing to following state guidelines if given the chance.

Cohen told the Buzz she respects the rights of those who don’t want to send their kids to school but feels that in-person learning is substantially better than online.

Sabrina Vanel, another local parent who was interviewed at the protest by Fox News Channel 11, said she simply wants the opportunity to send her kids her kids back to school. Vanel, one of the protest organizers, told us that yesterday’s protest attendees came from both the Valley and around the city. Even though her children are in local private schools, also including Yavneh, Vanel said she is focusing on the well being of every child and is also advocating for resources for underserved students.  She said she wants the government to provide resources to help schools open safely, and that she’s been trying to talk to officials at the Los Angeles Unified School District but “the unions are very powerful and they don’t want to start school.”

As one avenue to re-opening at least some schools, Vanel mentioned the possibility of waivers from the state rules, which would allow the resumption of in-person instruction with proper health precautions, even if Los Angeles remains on the state watchlist.

According to EdScource,  the waiver option it was first mentioned in a brief footnote in Newsom’s recent schools order, which says:

“A waiver of these criteria may be granted by the local health officer for elementary schools to open for in-person instruction. A waiver may only be granted if one is requested by the superintendent (or equivalent for charter or private schools), in consultation with labor, parent and community organizations. Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with (the California Department of Public Health) when considering a waiver request.”

But although such waivers may eventually be available, it’s not quite clear yet, from this initial mention or information publicized since last week, how many schools would be allowed to apply for the waivers, or what the precise requirements might be.

According to further information in a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, the waivers would be available for grades TK-6 only, and the Public Health department is still “working on designing the application process to be in compliance with state requirements.”

Also, according to the Times, “public schools will have to show they have union support” for a waiver, which “will likely give some charters and private schools — most of whose teachers are not unionized — an advantage in qualifying for a waiver, potentially exacerbating the divide between well-off students and their more disadvantaged peers…”” And, finally, it seems there’s also no specification yet on whether private and charter schools, even if not unionized, would likewise have to demonstrate parent and teacher support for a waiver application in some way.

So even though some schools (including at least one in Orange County) have already stated their intent to apply for waivers, it doesn’t appear that it will be a simple matter of just filling out a form and gaining approval, as many in favor of re-opening their schools may have hoped. And there will likely be many more questions, and evolving answers, between now and the resumption of school next month.



Protest organizers Rita Statman (left) and Sabrina Vanel speak to local tv new reporters.


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  1. I’d love to ask these parents demanding that schools reopen, how do the students who take the metro and public transportation to and from school remain safe?


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