Southern California pediatricians call for L.A.-area schools to immediately reopen

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First-grader April Alvarez logs into online classes in September 2020 from the Delano Recreation Center in Van Nuys, with help from Astrid Gramajo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

First-grader April Alvarez logs into online classes in September 2020 from the Delano Recreation Center in Van Nuys, with help from Astrid Gramajo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County campuses that closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic should immediately reopen, according to a regional affiliate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, because the harms of keeping children out of school outweigh the risks of safely and carefully managed classrooms.

“A large majority of the 1.5 million students in L.A. County has not been physically in a classroom in nearly a year,” said the statement from Southern California Chapter 2 of the academy. “This sad consequence of the pandemic should be addressed immediately with the reopening of schools.”

The statement by the affiliate is at odds with California guidelines that allow for fully reopening schools only after coronavirus infection rates are lower than they are now in every Southern California county. The superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified school district said campuses will remain closed until community infection rates drop. He’s also calling for teachers to be vaccinated, echoing the position of the teachers union, which reacted strongly Tuesday to the pediatric group.

The group represents about 1,500 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists in Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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