LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Like all major school districts across the Southland, the Los Angeles Unified School District will begin its fall semester this week with campuses closed and students receiving online instruction only.
The school year starts Monday with teacher training. Students will attend mandatory orientation sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, with the first actual day of instruction starting Thursday.
For students who need it, devices, textbooks and internet access will be provided starting the first week of school, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said. He was scheduled to hold a briefing at 8 a.m. Monday.
Earlier this month, after several weeks of marathon negotiations LAUSD and its teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), reached a tentative deal on how online learning will proceed.
Major points of the deal include:
- An average school day from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Targeted small group instruction.
- Opportunities for small group and independent student work.
- Social emotional support for students.
- Instructional training.
- Flexibility for teachers to work on campus or from home.
- Office hours for students and families to connect with teachers.
- Daily attendance will be taken.
Teachers and others staff members who might be on campus will be provided with childcare, and campuses are being cleaned and supplied with personal protective equipment for those workers and their children. These practices will continue once all students are eventually able to come back to the classroom on a full-time or hybrid basis.
District officials have not said when students might be able to return to schools. On Sunday, LAUSD announced it was launching a program that would provide regular coronavirus testing and contact tracing. The COVID-19 tests would initially only be provided to staff already working at schools, and their children, then over time it would be expanded to all staff and students.
Schools will also provide free one-on-one tutoring, both in person and online, for K-8 students who need it most through the A Step Up Tutoring program.
“We all wish students could be headed back to classrooms as a new school year officially starts,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “Unfortunately, it’s not safe and appropriate at this time. As we start the new school year online, each and every one of us in Los Angeles Unified will do our best to help students continue to learn.”
The deal will remain in effect through Dec. 31, or until students are back on campuses for regular instruction.
Meanwhile LAUSD Monday announced that it had also reached a tentative deal with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 on how they will provide support services during the distant learning period. SEIU represents about 30,000 custodians, bus drivers, teachers assistants and several other types of employees in the district.
The deal ensures that those workers will not see layoffs, furloughs or cuts to their work hours.
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.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)