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Elementary students in L.A. can return to school, health officials say

“This encouraging news means that dozens of elementary schools will be permitted to reopen for in-class instruction," officials said.
Signs calling for schools to reopen are displayed by people in passing vehicles during an "Open Schools Now" rally via car caravan by supporters of The Students First Coalition of Los Angeles on Monday, Feb 15, 2021.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Elementary students in Los Angeles may return to their public school classrooms as early as this week as the number of new coronavirus infections in the county continues to drop, officials said Monday.

In a statement, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it told the school district — the second largest in the country — that the county’s case rate would meet the state's requirement of 25 per 100,000 on Tuesday, allowing for the reopening of elementary schools.

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“This encouraging news means that dozens of elementary schools will be permitted to reopen for in-class instruction for students grades TK-6 as early as this week,” the department said.

The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The department's director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, will provide more details Tuesday, the statement said.

The announcement comes as infections continue to decline in the hard-hit county, which one month ago became the first in the nation to top 1 million coronavirus cases.

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Last month, federal health officials published a study showing that schools can reopen safely with masking and social distancing and other measures. The research also provided guidance to school administrators, local officials and parents on how to implement those measures.

Some teachers unions have said they won’t return to the classroom until teachers are vaccinated — a position that prompted the city of San Francisco to sue its own school district and board of education earlier this month.