As -19 transmission rates begin to decrease in L.A. , there is a chance that schools may reopen within “two to three weeks,” according to Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

Dr. Ferrer addressed the Los Angeles City Council Friday and said with the holidays over, and more residents “playing by the rules,” it is possible to reach the state’s threshold of 28 or less new cases per 100,000 residents in the L.A. .

“I do think it will not be long for us to get to 28 new cases per 100,000 people if we stay on the course we’re on,” Ferrer said. “I do understand the frustration as other sectors have reopened. It’s always this issue of needing to make sure that entire community—parents, students teachers and staff all feel very comfortable coming back into a school environment.”

Ferrer added that between September and mid-November, schools had experienced 24 outbreaks “with very little transmission,” compared to 75 after the holiday surge mid-November and December, with several cases involving more than five people at a time.

“I think we have demonstrated across the that if the protocols are followed, that there is a fair amount of safety in schools that have reopened,” Ferrer said Wednesday. “But it did not protect an increase in cases at schools when community transmissions got high.”

For LAUSD, Supt. Austin Beutner has pushed for staff and students to be vaccinated before reopening, although the county has not yet finished vaccinating prioritized healthcare workers and seniors over 65 years old.

“Vaccinations are a critical piece of the puzzle, and we’re all frustrated at the pace of the rollout despite everyone’s best efforts,” Beutner said Monday.

As of Thursday, L.A. has seen more than 16,000 related to -19 and
1,097,941 positive cases since the start of the pandemic.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.