On Wednesday, audio surfaced of Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer saying that K-12 schools in America’s largest county likely will not open until after the November election.
KFI News radio reporter Steve Gregory said he received a partial audio recording of a conference call between Dr. Ferrer and “a collection of school nurses, school administrators, other education and medical professionals.”
During that discussion, Ferrer indicated that she does not expect schools to reopen before the November election.
“We don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving to either tier 2 or to reopening K-12 schools at least until after the election, in early November,” Ferrer said. “When we look at the timing of everything, it seems to us a more realistic approach to this would be to think that we’re going to be where we are now until we are done with the election.”
The recording was featured on KFI’s “John and Ken Show,” where the co-hosts of the high-wattage afternoon drive program questioned whether Dr. Ferrer was manipulating the date to influence the Presidential race.
Gregory said he contacted the health department directly after obtaining the audio to inquire when Ferrer said schools would reopen.
“I got a response back that is basically this word salad,” Gregory said. “It’s one big long paragraph of a word salad. It’s not even worth reading because all that it said was, ‘we’re reassessing all of the time, and as soon as we do the in-person learning with the high risk, high needs students, the special needs, we will reassess for everyone else.’ That was their official answer as to when the schools were going to reopen.”
“So the health department official statement does not jive with the health director,” Gregory continued. “What caught my attention on this was that she said election not just once, but she says it twice.”
Gregory went on to say he tried to ask Ferrer about the comments during a conference call on Wednesday but was not given the opportunity. He said media colleagues have discussed how Ferrer’s “agenda has come through many times” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Partial transcript as follows:
Gregory: “She seems to have gone out of the mainstream in the totality of what’s going on in the county, and she’s starting to get very specific on political agendas. It took her a week or so to admit that protesters were part of the spread of the virus. We had to pressure her to say that.”
John Kobylt, co-host: “She’s definitely got a real left bent. She spends a lot of time huffing and puffing over the minority breakouts on the cases. I mean every day she goes through a laundry list and bemoans it, way way out of proportion.”
Gregory: “So this is why now, every time she says something like this, we have to dissect it to make sure it’s legit, or whatever.”
Dr. Ferrer, who does not have a medical degree, said Wednesday that L.A. County was on the right path.
Gregory noted during the broadcast that “the positivity rate is the lowest it’s ever been since the pandemic began in Los Angeles County. Cases are down; deaths are on a downward trend. Hospitalizations are now down under 1,000, which is the first time since the pandemic began.”