LOS ANGELES — Every morning starts the same way for Vanessa Parra, putting up and then taking down the COVID-19 health screening checkpoint at Monte Vista Elementary School in Highland Park.
"This is where our students come in daily," she said. "So we give them health screening questions, I take their temperature, I ask them if they have any cough, fever or sore throat."
What You Need To Know
- Two parents groups, Reopen California Schools and Let Them Breathe, have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Public Health and Gov. Newsom
- The state's guidelines require masking for all K-12 students and educators regardless of vaccination status
- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond says the mask mandate is needed for students' and educators' safety
- The lawsuit is asking the court to do away with the mask mandate, the close contact quarantine guidelines and routine asymptomatic testing
Parra, a parent and site coordinator for the LA’s Best summer and afterschool program, explained how enforcing the new health rules has gone smoothly.
"We thought at first maybe it was going to be hard," she said. "The first two, three couple of days, but the kids adjust so well to it. They already know. The kids, like, sometimes pull up and say, 'Ms., I don’t have a mask.' They naturally already know the routine because they have been practicing those good procedures."
And those procedures, which include masking for all K-12 students and educators regardless of vaccination status, will continue into the school year. Parra said she doesn’t expect that to be a problem.
"I’ve had a good experience," she said. "We’ve been having this program for this whole month, and nobody has ever complained about the masks."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond toured the school and noticed the work kids have been doing and the way adults have been enforcing health and mask mandates.
"Our schools all across this country are not big enough to have three feet of distance, and so the CDC has said that you can forgo that, as long as everyone is wearing a mask," said Thurmond. "It is a thing we know will keep everyone safe."
But not all parents feel that way, including Jonathan Zachreson.
“My group, Reopen California Schools, along with Let Them Breathe, filed a lawsuit against CDPH and Gov. Newsom over certain protocols in their K-12 opening guidelines," he said.
Zachreson is asking the court to do away with the mask mandate, the close contact quarantine guidelines and routine asymptomatic testing.
"We do know that it does impede education, especially for younger kids and English as a second language, where it’s very important to see the mouth and lips as well as emotional connection, hearing," he said. "And that’s just aside from it being very uncomfortable keeping this thing on all day."
Parra, however, disagrees.
"I’m comfortable enough to keep wearing it and having my daughter keep wearing it," she said. "Even if it’s not required, I still think I am going to wear it because it has kept me safe this whole time, so I want to continue those practices."