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Los Angeles teachers’ union ratifies agreement to end indoor mask mandate

(LOS ANGELES) — The second-largest school district in the nation has reached an agreement with its teachers to end its indoor mask mandate as new COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area plunge.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, which has more than 600,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, came to a resolution with the teachers’ union regarding mask mandates and regularly scheduled Covid-19 testing.

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles voted 84%-16% to approve the agreement, the union announced Monday.

The new policy is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

In the agreement that was announced on Friday, United Teachers Los Angeles and the school district agreed to have weekly PCR testing for all students, staff and faculty until the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

“I strongly support ending the indoor mask requirement and am committed to continuing to uphold our science-based approach to COVID-19 safety and protocols,” Alberto M. Carvalho, the school district’s superintendent, said in a statement.

Carvalho added, “I want to personally thank our students, employees and families for their support and patience. We know some in our school communities and offices will continue to wear masks, while others may not. Please consider your situation and do what is best for you or your child. Now that this important issue is behind us, it is time to focus on each student’s full academic potential.”

“UTLA educators, parents, and our school communities have fought for LAUSD to be the vanguard of health and safety in public education across the nation during this pandemic — an accomplishment due in large part to the weekly testing program and the strong safety protocols we’ve bargained with the district,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement.

Masks requested by employees will be provided by the school district, including KN95 or N95 masks. Although masks will be optional, they are strongly recommended when indoors, officials said.

The school district will also continue to have a public COVID-19 dashboard recording positive cases in the event the policies need to be adjusted or changed based upon the data.

The agreement will remain in effect until June 30.

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