LAUSD, UTLA reach agreement to return to in-person learning

After weeks of negotiations, the Los Angeles Unified School District and UTLA have finally reached a tentative agreement on returning to in-person learning.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz issued a joint statement Tuesday night unveiling the district's plan to returning to brick-and-mortar education.

LAUSD plans to reopen preschool and elementary school classes mid-April and secondary schools will return to classes near the end of April. Myart-Cruz says in-person learning will begin once Los Angeles County enters the state’s red tier as part of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

"{This agreement} is the result of months of complicated work at the bargaining table. It has taken time and painstaking effort to ensure we got an agreement that is right for the entire LAUSD community," Myart-Cruz said during a press conference Wednesday morning. 

"Since day one of the pandemic our guiding mission has always been the health and safety of our students, their families and the Los Angeles education community," she added.

Below are the safety measures tentatively agreed upon by both the district and the teachers union:

  • Daily in-person instruction for elementary school students in a hybrid morning/afternoon model, while maintaining the option for students to remain in online-only instruction. 
  • Secondary students will continue with daily online instruction, along with the opportunity to return to campus for peer interaction, social-emotional learning and lessons for college and career exploration.
  • Full-day, in-person instruction for preschool students.
  • Maintaining current teacher assignments whenever possible.
  • All students and staff will be tested for COVID-19 seven days prior to their return to campus, and weekly COVID testing will be provided thereafter.
  • Masks must be worn at all time by students and staff. Student workspaces will be placed 6 feet away from each other.
  • Everyone entering campus, including visitors, will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entering.
  • Schools will be kept clean and safe. Los Angeles Unified has already invested more than $120 million to upgrade air-filtration systems, procure adequate stocks of personal protective equipment and add extra custodial staff.
  • Social-emotional supports for all students.
  • Additional professional development for teachers.  
  • Meals will be provided for students at schools, whether they are receiving in-person or online instruction.  
  • Students will also receive school supplies to be kept at school.

The tentative agreement will be voted on by members next week. 

Below is a copy of the joint statement:

Tuesday's announcement comes just days after UTLA doubled down on its shortlist of demands, rejecting a return to classrooms unless the following conditions are met:

  • LA County must be out of the purple tier
  • Staff must be fully vaccinated or access to the doses
  • Safety conditions must be in place, which includes PPE, social distancing, ventilation and daily cleaning.

LAUSD and UTLA's tentative agreement comes as nearby school districts like Long Beach Unified School District and Torrance Unified School District have either announced return dates (LBUSD) or celebrated bringing back students to classrooms (TUSD).

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