Spring Breakdown: LA Teachers' Union Tries to Hide Vacations Amid School Reopening Fight

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March 9, 2021

Los Angeles's largest teachers' union told its members not to post spring break photos on social media because it would make it harder to fight against reopening schools.

A private United Teachers Los Angeles Facebook post obtained by Fox 11 Los Angeles contained a "friendly reminder" for educators to refrain from posting vacation photos because it would be hard to argue to keep schools closed if parents and others saw teachers traveling.

"If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off of Social Media," the post read. "It is hard to argue that it is unsafe for in-person instruction, if parents and the public see vacation photos and international travel."

While districts across the country have begun reopening schools after nearly yearlong closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, United Teachers Los Angeles has gone to great lengths to keep schools closed. The union recently gathered data on the race of parents who have vocalized their support of reopening schools for a report released last week. The report found that "whiter, healthier, and wealthier" families are overrepresented in stories about school reopening, while black and Latino voices are ignored.

Studies have shown, however, that minority students have been the most adversely affected by school closures. Black and Hispanic students in San Francisco were found to be 60 percent more likely to miss virtual class, according to a recent analysis.

The cost to students comes despite the fact that coronavirus transmission in school settings has been found to be "extremely rare." Research from the Centers for Disease Control has found that it would be safe to bring students back to the classroom even before teachers receive the coronavirus vaccine. Still, many teachers' unions have made vaccination a condition for a return to the classroom.

One teachers' union leader who opposed reopening schools landed in hot water last year after posting a vacation photo online. Sarah Chambers, a Chicago Teachers Union executive-board member who rallied against school reopening, posted a photo of herself in Puerto Rico just hours after she tweeted that it was unsafe to teach face-to-face.