August 13, 2021Statement
The UTLA Board of Directors has voted overwhelmingly to support a vaccine mandate for all LAUSD employees. The UTLA Board had previously voted to not oppose a vaccine mandate. This stronger position comes as the Delta variant continues to surge in our communities and as students and staff prepare for a return to full-time, in-person learning next week.
“I am the parent of an LAUSD fifth-grader, and my family has been going through the same uncertainty and anguish as so many other families as we approach the return to school,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said. “Because of the protocols that UTLA educators and LAUSD families fought for and won, LA Unified has among the strictest COVID safety protocols in the country. But this Delta variant is unlike anything we have seen so far in this crisis — especially its impact on children — and we all need to step up to do our part to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
The current surge in COVID cases underscores why UTLA members fought so hard for mask mandates, ventilation, access to vaccines, and other safety measures for our schools. Those safety measures we negotiated include a COVID Task Force at each school, which should be doing a physical walk-through of campuses today, August 13, to note violations of safety protocols so they can be addressed before students return on Monday.
UTLA also calls on the District to actively encourage and facilitate greater access to vaccination for parents, eligible students, and the communities we serve. The District and LA County Department of Health must work together to increase outreach, vaccination clinics, and testing in communities with low vaccination rates and high transmission rates.
However, vaccines are one layer of protection. As staff and students return to school, we urge everyone to remain vigilant about all the layered mitigation strategies — from masking and ventilation to testing and tracing — needed to keep our learning spaces safe.