United Teachers Los Angeles, the second largest teacher's union in the country, rejected a proposal from LAUSD that asks teachers provide instruction from a classroom to students at home.
Teachers say it is not safe for them to be at school even without students in the classroom.
"While we know some of our members would like to teach from the classroom, the district has yet to provide clear safety protocols or evidence that it has secured the testing and Personal Protective Equipment necessary for staff to work from school sites," UTLA said in a statement on its website.
LAUSD superintendent says school year won't start with students at facilities amid COVID-19 pandemic
L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis disagrees that it isn't safe for teachers to teach in empty classrooms.
"Going into the classroom, there's nobody there. You're at a distance from everybody," Davis said. "That is definitely a safe thing to do. It's really about the contact with someone who might be infected and being close enough to pass that infection."
UTLA's statement said bargaining unit members are currently not required to physically return to school sites, and that includes all members -- classroom-based and non-classroom-based staff.
UTLA also rejected the district's plan for a "micro-structured" school day lasting from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., claiming it would require an excessive amount of screen time that is not healthy for children. They countered by suggesting a maximum daily screen time of 45 minutes for children under 5. They also offered other proposals, including having extra support for teachers to transition their classrooms to online learning.
Earlier this month, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said schools will open with distance learning only.
The school year is set to start Aug. 18th.
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