Los Angeles County’s public health director predicted schools won’t reopen until “we are done with the elections” in November, raising questions about political motivations behind keeping students at home.
What are the details?
Dr. Barbara Ferrer made the comment during a conference call with local educators, school nurses, and other groups while discussing the upcoming flu season, KCBS-TV reported.
“We don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving either to Tier 2 [of California’s reopening plan] or to reopening K through 12 schools at least … until after the election, after, you know, in early November,” Ferrer said during Thursday’s call. “Like when we just look at the timing of everything, it seems to us the more realistic approach to this would be to think that we’re gonna be where we are now … until … we are done with the elections.”
Her comments were first reported by L.A. talk radio station KFI-AM, which provided an audio file of Ferrer’s comments along with the radio program hosts offering their takes on why the public health director chose Election Day as a milestone.
“I interpret it as they’re holding off until the election because sending the kids back into school would put everybody in a good mood,” one host reacted. “They’ll feel that the whole nightmare is over, and that gives good will to [President Donald] Trump and more votes.”
A host noted, “What caught my attention on this was that she said election not just once, but she says it twice.”
A host also pointed out what he sees as Ferrer’s “way left bent.”
What did LA County have to say?
An L.A. County Department of Public Health spokesperson told KCBS that Ferrer’s comment “was related only to timing any expanded school re-openings to allow for enough time from the implementation of changes to assess impact prior to expansions.”
The spokesperson’s statement added that the public health department “will be working closely with schools providing services and supports to high need students over the next 6-8 weeks to implement and assess safety directives and strategies for ensuring infection control and distancing. This information will be used to inform the timing of future activities at schools,” the station said.
In July, the 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles argued that schools cannot physically reopen unless certain policy demands are met, including defunding police, ending charter schools, and granting financial support to undocumented students and their families.