Long Beach to allow most teachers to work from home

After protests and negotiations, most teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District will be given the choice to work from home or an empty classroom this fall.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- After weeks of negotiations and protests, Long Beach Unified School District and the Teachers Association of Long Beach came to a tentative agreement Monday night to give most teachers the option to choose to work from home or from an empty classroom for virtual instruction this fall.

The school district sent an email on July 24 notifying teachers that they would be expected to teach from the classroom during distanced learning, according to LBUSD spokesperson Chris Eftychiou.

"We know there are also many teachers who would prefer to teach in their classroom virtually because they have dedicated space," Eftychiou said. "They have all of their equipment. It's quiet."

The Teachers Association of Long Beach is concerned about the safety of its teachers.

"We want them to be able to teach from home unless they choose to go in," said TALB President Dr. Chris Kelly. "People need to be safe and it's just not us. It's our custodians, our families, our management."

Following the district's announcement, parents and teachers created the Facebook group, Parents for Teachers LBUSD. Earlier this month, members organized car caravan protests at the LBUSD Administration Building.

"The community came out and had a voice and it proves that parents care, teachers care," said LBUSD parent Allison Kripp. "We care about our community and our teachers that are coming back to school, going through his horrible pandemic."

After 10 hours of negotiations, LBUSD and TALB reached a tentative agreement that would give most teachers the option to choose to work from home or from the classroom this fall.

While the details have yet to be finalized, the Memorandum of Understanding does not include some Pre-K or Special Education teachers.

"With them telling us last night that they are allowing flexibility for our K-12, we now need to focus on our Head Start, Educare and our Special Ed schools to allow those teachers to have the flexibility as well," Kripp said.

Bargaining between the district and the union will continue on Thursday, Aug. 20.

Long Beach Unified School District will begin the school year Sept. 1.

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