The Los Angeles Unified School District campuses will resume in-person instruction in mid-April for preschool and elementary school students. At the end of April, high school students will be on campus. This is under an agreement in principle announced tonight between the district and the teachers’ union.
“The agreement provides for the reopening of schools when Los Angeles County is in red level according to public school guidelines, all staff have access to the COVID vaccine, and schools are kept clean and safe,” said LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and United Los Angeles Teachers President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a joint statement announcing the deal.
UTLA Folks, look for an email tonight with a summary of the tentative agreement and more information to come tomorrow. Members will vote on the deal. https://t.co/l8gZA4jeUJ
– United Teachers Los Angeles (@UTLAnow) March 10, 2021
“As we have both been saying for some time, the right way to reopen schools must include the highest level of COVID safety in schools, continued reduction of the virus in the communities we serve, and access to vaccinations for school staff, “the statement said. “This agreement achieves this set of common goals. It is our shared commitment to the highest safety standards and the spirit of trust and collaboration that we will bring back with us to schools.
Los Angeles County qualifies for plan to reopen California Red Level Must remain stable for another week for restrictions to be lifted
While the deal is considered tentative, it will almost certainly be approved by the LAUSD Education Council and UTLA members.
The agreement provides for a “hybrid model” of combining online and in-person education while adhering to national and local guidelines that students stay in small, stable groups without mingling with students.
Depending on the district and union, the agreement includes:
– daily face-to-face teaching for primary school pupils in a hybrid morning / afternoon model, with pupils having the possibility of following strictly online teaching;
– daily online education for high school students, with the option to return to campus for peer interaction, socio-emotional learning and lessons for college and career exploration;
– a full day of in-person instruction for preschool students;
– maintain current teacher assignments to the extent possible;
– a compulsory COVID test for students and staff before their return to campus, followed by weekly tests;
– necessary masking and social distancing for students, staff and visitors;
– school sanitation needs, with the district noting a $ 120 million upgrade of ventilation systems, the purchase of protective equipment and the hiring of guard staff;
– socio-emotional support for students;
– further training of teachers; and
– meals provided to students, whether they receive lessons in person or online.
According to state guidelines, Los Angeles County schools may reopen for students in junior kindergarten through sixth grade. Students in Grades 7 to 12 can return to in-person classes once the county has moved to the “red” level of the state’s economic reopening plan. It could happen as early as this weekend.
Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a $ 6.6 billion legislative package providing funds to schools across the state to help recover learning lost during the pandemic, which has forced students to take online education only. The program includes $ 2 billion in incentive funds for schools that resume face-to-face instruction for pre-kindergarten to grade two students by April 1. Schools that do not reopen by this date will lose 1% of their share of funding for each day they miss the fidgetcube.
UTLA leaders have resisted pressure to return to in-person teaching, insisting that while rates of COVID-19 cases have generally plummeted across the county, many low-income communities served by the district have disproportionately high case rates.
Last week, UTLA members overwhelmingly approved a statement saying face-to-face instruction should not resume until the county reaches the red level, until all school staff is not fully vaccinated or has no access to vaccinations, and until strict safety measures are in place in schools.
All of these demands, however, were already on the verge of being met by the time the union vote was finalized. Los Angeles County is expected to drop to red by the weekend. Vaccination of school staff began last week, and Newsom allocated 25,000 doses to LAUSD, the number Beutner previously said needed for elementary schools to reopen. And the county public health department has already approved the district COVID security plan outlining the protective measures implemented on campuses.
City News Service contributed to this report.