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Teachers Union Details Stance On LAUSD In-Person Hybrid Learning

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United Teachers Los Angeles president Cecily Myart-Cruz updated members on negotiations over a return to in-person learning in a live update on November 20. (Screenshot of UTLA Facebook livestream)
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The Los Angeles Unified School District and the union representing teachers are still negotiating over what a return to in-person learning would look like whenever campuses are allowed to reopen -- including the details of the district’s proposed “hybrid” model, featuring some in-person and some online learning.

“A potential physical return would have to use a hybrid schedule, and frankly, there is no such thing as a good hybrid schedule,” United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz said today in her weekly update.

The district declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations. At a town hall hosted by Board of Education member Nick Melvoin, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner acknowledged that “[hybrid] is not … a choice we want to make; it’s a choice we need to make, somewhere between all being back and and somewhere between all being online.”

Hybrid means that students would be put into groups that would spend some of their time on campus learning in a classroom with a teacher, and some of their time learning online. When one group is in-person, the other group is online (though the district is figuring out how it could provide supervision for students when they’re not in the classroom, if families need that).

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When LAUSD unveiled a roadmap to reopen campuses, hybrid was part of the plan, though campuses are unlikely to reopen anytime soon because the county remains in the state’s most restrictive “purple” tier – and the superintendent has chosen not to apply for reopening waivers.

In her update on the union’s position on reopening today, Myart-Cruz said UTLA does not want its members to teach both in-person and online students at the same time, and seems to be against the version of hybrid learning that would bring one cohort of students on campus in the morning, and another in the afternoon.

As these negotiations continue, the district’s Communities of Schools have been convening town hall meetings for families, to walk through the “Return to Campus Family Guide” and to explain the next steps.

Even though the particulars of the hybrid model are still being negotiated – like which times or days students might be on campus and when they’d switch – the district is still asking parents to indicate on an online form if they’d like their student to return in the hybrid model or to continue the school year in online-only distance learning.

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“Naturally, we would have preferred to have the final negotiations done and the specifics of the hybrid model … the days of the week, all of that important information,” Local District South Superintendent Michael Romero said in an interview. “But we made the decision to send it out with a generic hybrid model because we need to now have an idea of what our parents are thinking about. We have to have a feel, roughly, if the parents feel comfortable sending their kids back.”

Romero and Beutner say there will be some form of supervision offered for hybrid students when they’re not in the classroom with their teachers.

Parents’ responses are due to the district on Dec. 6, and if parents don’t respond, the district says their student will automatically be placed in the hybrid model, though they could opt back into distance learning at any time.

READ MORE OF OUR COVERAGE OF THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS

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