By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles Unified School District board has unanimously approved a labor agreement with its teachers union on how to conduct distance learning during the upcoming school year as campuses remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) reached the agreement last week after several weeks of intense bargaining.

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Once the deal is formally approved by UTLA, it will remain in effect through Dec. 31, or until students are back on campuses for regular instruction.

The fall semester will begin the week of Aug. 17 with virtual learning only. It remains unclear when students may be allowed to return to campuses.

Board member George McKenna said he has “no illusions the students will be as well-served … with distance learning as they would be if they could actually be in a classroom with a teacher.

“All we can do is try to keep our children safe and as well-educated as we can.”

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • An average school day from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
  • Targeted small group instruction.
  • Daily attendance.
  • Opportunities for small group and independent student work.
  • Social emotional support.
  • Instructional training.
  • Flexibility for teachers to work on campus or from home.
  • Office hours for students and families to connect with teachers.
  • Teachers also will be provided with childcare.

Schools will also provide free one-on-one tutoring, both in person or online, for K-8 students who need it through the Step Up Tutoring program, the district said Monday.

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LAUSD also will continue to ensure that every student has a device and internet connection at home, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.

“The first few days of school will be spent continuing to train teachers and giving them time to plan together for the start of instruction. We’ll also use that time to make sure students are connected with their school, have a chance to meet their teachers and have the devices and internet access and the appropriate textbooks and instructional materials.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that public and private schools in all California counties on the state’s coronavirus monitoring list – which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura – will start the fall semester with distance learning only due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

As of Monday, 38 counties are on the state’s watchlist due to their number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Newsom says counties must be off the state’s monitoring list for 14 consecutive days before public and private schools can physically reopen.

LAUSD — the second largest district in the nation — serves more than 600,000 students at more than 1,000 schools. It employs about 75,000 people.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)