Los Angeles Unified School District teachers voted overwhelmingly Friday to recommend campuses remain closed when the new school year begins Aug. 18.
Of the more than 18,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles who participated, 83% voted against the physical reopening of schools, the union announced.
“It is hitting us hard to think we may not be back with our students in the fall,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said.
“And we know this is hard on our students and their parents, so many of whom have stepped up as our partners in teaching while struggling with the economic fallout of this crisis. But safety must come first, along with a commitment to focus on strengthening distance learning.”
The union stated the recent spike in coronavirus cases — including a record number of one-day deaths in California this week — “has changed the calculations for when it is safe to go back to schools” and said that even before that surge “there were serious issues with starting the school year on physical campuses.”
The union also reiterated its claim from Thursday citing a lack of state and federal funding for increased health and safety measures and what it called the lack of time for the district to put together the detailed, rigorous plans needed for a safe return to campus.
LAUSD has not announced a decision on reopening, but when it happens, the district would offer two options: a learning-from-home program and a hybrid plan that would combine learning at home with part-time attendance on campus in small, socially distanced classes, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Earlier in the week, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer told school district leaders they must prepare for the possibility that students would need to continue learning remotely 100% of the time at the start of the school year.
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