Los Angeles School Lets Kids on Campus for Film Shoot, But Still Won't Resume In-Person Classes


Kids were allowed on a Los Angeles Unified School District campus for a film shoot, even as children are still not allowed to go back to school for in-person learning.

Jenny Hontz, a parent and the communications director for the Los Angeles parent organization Speak UP, said another parent was shocked to see kids at Kester Avenue Elementary School on Wednesday.

“Apparently, LAUSD is allowing dozens of kids on campus to work and do a shoot for Apple TV but they say it’s unsafe to have kids on campus to learn,” Hontz told KCAL-TV.

“What on Earth? This is completely insane!”

She told KCAL that the parent who saw the show filming couldn’t believe it after being told what was happening.

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“Parents are outraged by this,” Hontz said. “It’s absolutely clear that LAUSD has their priorities wrong.”

The district said in a statement that there are different rules in regard to filming on school campuses and reopening the schools.

“Filming on school district property is subject to state and county health standards, which are different than those which allow schools to provide in-person instruction,” the LAUSD said.

“State rules currently allow filming at schools even though those same schools do not meet the state rules to reopen.”

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California guidelines prevent K-6 schools in the purple tier, which currently encompasses most of the state, from reopening until there are 25 or fewer cases of coronavirus per 100,000 county residents per day for at least five consecutive days.

There are exceptions to the restrictions, authorizing transitional kindergarten through second-grade schools to operate under a specially approved waiver, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However, many teachers unions are pushing back against reopening, NPR reported, and the goalposts for what is considered “safe” for teachers keep moving.

Guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices categorizes teachers as essential workers, making them a priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Even though teachers are eligible, state criteria to receive the vaccine varies, and low vaccine supplies are a restraint on most communities.

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Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday that teachers do not necessarily have to be vaccinated in order for schools to reopen safely, Bloomberg reported.

Hontz expressed frustration that the district and its employees haven’t reached an agreement to be able to reopen schools.

“The district has universal testing and contact tracing in place,” she told KCAL.

“They have every safety measure in place that exceeds the CDC recommendations.”

“What they don’t have is a decision to let these kids come back, and it’s crazy.”

She added that families should be given the option for in-person learning.

“Let’s get started where we can. Let’s get kids with disabilities back, and get the youngest learners back,” Hontz said.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith