• Sun. Apr 11th, 2021

Los Angeles Schools Remain Closed and Families Wonder: How Much Longer?


Mar 8, 2021

On the city’s affluent Westside, Marie Elena Rigo, an executive coach, and her husband, a senior vice president at a commercial lender, have kept their two children in a public charter school in the district. But they have supplemented their schooling by paying $1,000 a month per child to enroll them in a learning pod, where three educators help 15 children in person with their school work.

Ms. Rigo said she, too, had felt lost “playing the role of teacher.” Her son has missed so many fourth-grade assignments and seemed so depressed, she said, that they have hired a therapist for him, another $1,000-per-month investment. Her first-grade daughter, she said, seems to have lost ground in reading.

Each day, she said, brings a fresh war over screen time — laptops, phones, television. “I’m watching this show on Netflix, ‘Miraculous’,” said her first grader, Alexa, over Zoom, giggling in her mother’s home office as she cuddled Vanilla, a service bunny from the learning pod that she had brought home for the weekend. “I’m watching it over and over and over and over!

Ms. Rigo said she had recently joined a parent group demanding that classrooms open. “It’s been so divisive,” she said. “If you want to send your kids back to class, you’re looked at as a bully trying to hurt teachers.”

Shamael’s father, Kahllid Al-Alim, a local activist and city employee, said he disliked the divisiveness, too, but as a member of Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, he felt bound to stand in solidarity with U.T.L.A.

“When they’re ready to go back and they say everything has been met, I will definitely send my children back,” he said. “But not right now.”


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