Lynwood – Martina Rodriguez used to cringe at the thought of schools reopening. She has a daughter currently receiving distance learning in the District, and the idea of them returning to the classroom brought about more anxious questions than answers.

The road to return has now become more clear for Rodriguez, who is a member of the District’s COVID-19 Parent Task Force which helps identify potential issues and concerns that come with reopening. The group of parents joins District staff and community partners in visiting school sites twice per month to ensure safety protocols are being followed that will safeguard the health and well-being of the District.

“My biggest worry was whether I could send my kids to a place that would be properly cleaned and organized so they would not be in danger,” said Rodriguez, also a former student of the District. “To be able to walk into the classes and see how they will look and ask questions about the plan makes me feel more comfortable. As parents, it’s important that we are involved in the process.”

Lynwood Unified has its own COVID-19 Quality Control Team and has been preparing for onsite learning for months under the direction of state guidelines. But the presence of parent participation through the new task force has been critical in ebbing fears of the community and also pointing out potential blind spots.

The parent task force tours up to four schools per day, guided by school principals and the District Director of Maintenance and Operations. The number of participants is capped for safety while the group observes classroom layouts, cleaning, and poses questions. During a recent visit, parents peppered inquiries concerning the sharing of supplies (which will be limited), air filters, and how social distancing will be enforced.

Jackie Espinoza, a member of the task force whose son is a senior at Firebaugh High School, said she feels a sense of duty to speak on behalf of other parents.

“All of us have questions about sending our children back to school, and I try to act as a mediator between us and the District,” she said. “Our job is to talk to the parents and bring what they are feeling onto these site visits so that we can all work together to create a safe place.”|

Los Angeles County is currently at tier 1 purple rating on the state’s four-tiered system that ranks the severity of the pandemic in each county. The county would have to advance to tier 2 for a period of two consecutive weeks in order to have permission from the state to start the process of widespread reopening.

Lynwood Unified continues to prepare for that future date at all school sites – arranging desks to be properly spaced apart, equipping classrooms with sanitizers, and adhering to a thorough cleaning schedule.

“We want to make sure we are ahead of the state schedule for returning to schools so that when the doors open our families have the peace of mind to know we worked hard to keep their children safe,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said.

In Lynwood Unified, it’s parents who have become an integral part of keeping parents at ease.

“The collaboration between the District and the community has always been critical to our success,” LUSD Board President Gary Hardie Jr. said. “Parents are entrusting us with their children, so it’s only right they join the process of ensuring we are doing all we can to protect them.”


092820_LUSD_PARENT1: The District’s COVID-19 Parent Task Force sees parents join staff and community partners in visiting school sites twice per month to ensure safety protocols are being followed.

092820_LUSD_PARENT2: The LUSD COVID-19 Parent Task Force discusses school safety during a recent school visit.