L.A. Parents Plan ‘Zoom Blackout’ to Protest School Closures

Parents with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) held a “Zoom blackout” as part of a protest to reopen schools for in-person learning because “there is a really big urgency to get our kids back in school,” according to a Fox News report.

Cynthia Rojas who helped organize the protest, told “Fox & Friends” on Monday, she is speaking out because she feels parents in the LAUSD are being misled.

A flyer promoting the blackout was released on social media last week, and encouraged parents not to sign into their Zoom classes beginning Feb. 22, and to continue “for as many days as it takes,” The Epoch Times reported.

“Enough is enough” parents “can no longer sit by and wait for UTLA to come up with more excuses to keep our schools closed,” according to the flyer.

Rojas said that over the past few months parents have learned that they “have very little voice in this whole situation.”

“We don’t have a seat at the table when it comes to the negotiations between LAUSD and UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles) and so we’ve been trying the standard calling and voicemails, and e-mails, but it’s not working,” Rojas continued.  “And so I’m part of a group of just parents who are just really frustrated.”

Rojas is hoping the Zoom blackout is “going to give feedback to LAUSD and UTLA that they are not providing an education for our children.”

“I feel like every time we log in, it gives them the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, oh we’re providing education, there’s online learning, what’s the big rush to get back to school,’” she explained.

“And what we’re seeing is there is a really big urgency to get our kids back in school,” she continued, pointing to science showing that it is safe to return to in-person learning.

Rojas said parents are “demanding” that they should have the choice whether to send their children back to school.

In a statement, UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz said, “Local and state officials did not help create the right conditions to reopen schools for in-person instruction and educators are being targeted for trying to protect our students and our community.”

She added that the latest update parents received was that once all the teachers are vaccinated schools will reopen.

In an update to the school community sent to Fox News, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said, “As difficult as the decision was to close school classrooms, reopening is even harder.”

“We have to balance the learning needs of students, the support we provide to working families and the responsibility to protect the health and safety of all in the school community.”

He stressed that “We cannot – and will not – compromise on health and safety.”

Beutner confirmed that last week “Los Angeles County health authorities announced that average COVID levels were low enough for elementary schools to reopen.”

“The vaccine plays a critical role in reopening schools as safely as possible, in particular in communities which have been hardest hit by the virus,” he noted.

He added, “Let’s get school staff vaccinated and start using school-based vaccination sites to provide access to the families we serve.”

“We want to provide a service to the entire education community and hope County Health authorities will help us get open this week by providing the appropriate doses of the vaccine,” Beutner said.

Beutner announced that on February 8, he proposed a plan to reopen all preschools and elementary schools in the school district and offer services for a small number of students with special needs, however that is contingent on the availability of vaccine doses.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: Getty Images

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