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Although Vicky Martinez has been dreaming of the day she can send her four children back to in-person instruction in the Los Angeles Unified School District, she thinks that, at least for now, she’s waiting.

But she has had second thoughts. And third thoughts. Her high school son wants to return. Her younger children are afraid of getting COVID-19.

“I am exhausted — physically, mentally, emotionally, financially — all of the above,” she said. “It has been a lot of work, and I feel like I’m failing every day as a parent.”

A personal reckoning is playing out in hundreds of thousands of homes across the nation’s second-largest school district, where families find themselves in a mind-twisting situation. For a year, L.A. school officials have pointedly explained that the prevalence of the coronavirus has made it unsafe to open campuses — messaging strongly reinforced by the teachers union.

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