LAUSD reopening: Tentative deal with teachers union allows August restart

LAUSD and the teachers union have reached a tentative deal on distance learning to allow classes to resume later this month.

Carlos Granda Image
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
LAUSD reaches reopening deal with teachers union
LAUSD and the teachers union have reached a tentative deal on distance learning to allow classes to resume later this month.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union have reached a tentative agreement on distance learning to allow the resumption of classes later this month.

Among the sticking points resolved was the question of whether teachers would be required to be physically present in their classrooms to provide remote instruction while students remained at home.

The union, United Teachers Los Angeles, had objected to requiring their physical presence out of concerns for health and safety.

The deal says teachers have the option of being in their classrooms, but it is not mandatory.

Among other key points:

  • Starting dates: While the school year will resume Aug. 17, the first two days will be dedicated to teacher preparation and development. Teachers will have initial contact with students and families on the afternoon of Aug. 19 to make introductions and go over procedures. After that will be a "smart start" to the school year from Aug. 20-28, which will include time to go over the technology to be used for instruction.
  • Daily and weekly schedule: The average school day is expected to go from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Mondays are designated as instructional support days, while student instruction will take place Tuesday-Friday.
  • Additional support: Extra resources will be available for students, including one-on-one tutoring online and at school, including Saturday mornings. Staff will be available for additional instruction online and in-person outside of school hours.
  • "We need to continue to balance three sometimes-conflicting objectives," LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said. "The learning needs of students, the impact the virus is having on working families and protecting the health and safety of all in the school community. Our commitment is to provide the best possible education, whether online or at school."

    The two sides reached the tentative agreement Sunday night. That deal still has to be ratified by union membership and the school board. If approved, the deal will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2020 or until students are allowed to physically return to campus.

    "This agreement will be brought to life by educators, students and parents. This (memorandum of understanding) is not an end point - it's a beginning," said UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz. "We must invest more resources to create healthy and safe schools and to build on this MOU with responsiveness to feedback from educators, parents, and students."

    In the meantime, teachers held a drive-by rally on Monday to continue their call for the safe reopening of schools. Dozens of teachers drove from the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce building downtown to LAUSD headquarters, honking their horns and holding signs advocating for school safety.

    "I worry for my students' lives," said teacher Canek Pena-Vargas. "I feel for a lot of my students who have already lost loved ones."

    "I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to stand up for my students, to provide a quality education for them, to provide the resources they need for them and their families. But I don't want to go into a situation where we don't feel confident with the science that we can keep everyone safe."