The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and United Teacher Los Angeles (UTLA) have come to terms on reopening schools for in-person classes, starting April.
While LAUSD was already anticipating an April 9 reopening, UTLA was against the plan and last week said that 91% of teachers polled said they did not feel safe with in-person teaching.
Tuesday, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz announce that the two sides had come to an agreement for a hybrid-type learning environment in mid-April.
“The agreement provides for the reopening of schools when Los Angeles County is in the red tier according to the state school guidelines, that all staff have access to the COVID vaccine and that schools are kept clean and safe,” Beutner and Myart-Cruz said in a joint statement. “As we have both stated for some time, the right way to reopen schools must include the highest standard of COVID safety in schools, continued reduction of the virus in the communities we serve and access to vaccinations for school staff. This agreement achieves that shared set of goals. It’s our shared commitment to the highest safety standards and spirit of trust and collaboration we will take with us back to schools.”
LAUSD’s Board of Education showed approval of the school reopening agreement, with Board President Kelly Gonez saying, “After a year managing the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting our students and families, conditions finally allow us to resume in-person instruction. With the declines in COVID-19 in our communities, the preparation of all our school sites, and the vaccinations of our school staff, we are excited to start safely welcoming students in a hybrid model in the coming weeks.”
Multiple terms of the agreement were already mandatory by L.A. Public Health regulations, such as keeping the option for online distance learning and weekly testing for COVID-19, but there were terms added that provide social opportunities for students and “social-emotional support.”
LAUSD has already upgraded the filtration system in its buildings to meet Public Health standards and personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves will be made available on-site.
Another term in the agreement was to provide meals to students whether they attend in-person, or not. LAUSD has been offering meals throughout the pandemic period, passing more than 100 million meals distributed at its “grab-&go” food center, as of this week.
UTLA sent out the agreement’s terms to instructors and will put it to a vote.