LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Amid a concerning resurgence of the coronavirus, leadership for the union which represents thousands of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District is recommending that campuses remain closed to students when the fall semester begins next month.
Both the board of directors and the bargaining team for United Teachers Los Angeles voted in favor of keeping campuses closed when the fall semester begins and conducting learning entirely online, the union announced Thursday night.
The current school start date is slated for Aug. 18.
The union said it has polled its approximately 30,000 teachers on the issue and will release those results Friday night.
“It is time to take a stand against Trump’s dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk,” said UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz in a statement. “We all want to physically open schools and be back with our students, but lives hang in the balance. Safety has to be the priority. We need to get this right for our communities.”
Earlier this week, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner reiterated that the district has yet to make a decision regarding how students will begin learning in the fall.
Nearby districts appear to be leaning towards offering students a choice. Santa Ana Unified in Orange County on Tuesday approved a plan under which students could decide whether to learn solely online or under a hybrid model in which they would be in the classroom a few days a week and meet online the rest of the time. Under the hybrid model, no more than 15 students would be in class at a time.
Las Virgenes Unified – which serves parts of Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Ventura County – announced a similar plan Thursday.
UTLA has released a research paper which details what guidelines it believes must be met before students can safely return to class. It also said the district needs more state and federal funding to be able to effectively meet those guidelines.
LAUSD employs approximately 75,000 people and serves almost 700,000 students.