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When Los Angeles parent Cynthia Rojas heard that federal experts and local health authorities said elementary campuses could reopen, she was ecstatic. But then reality hit her: Campuses in the L.A. Unified School District would not reopen anytime soon.

That disappointment became a defining moment that brought her and other parents to a protest Monday outside the Federal Building in West Los Angeles — part of the growing momentum in some parts of Los Angeles, including the Westside, to reopen public schools.

The United Teachers Los Angeles union is resisting this push, which it says is in part rooted in white privilege. Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner says coronavirus infection rates in neighborhoods served by the district, including South Los Angeles, remain too high and he supports vaccinations for school staff, which the union is demanding.

Beutner said Monday that the average county coronavirus rate that permits elementary schools to reopen is misleading. The county “spans more than 4,000 square miles and communities with vastly different family circumstances where COVID has had vastly different impacts,” he said.

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