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Morning Brief: Ending Remote School, More Vaccines For CA, And James Franco’s Settlement

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Graffiti on a warehouse near downtown Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 23.

After months of back-and-forth with elected officials and the teachers’ union, the L.A. Unified School District’s superintendent announced yesterday that local public schools will reopen for some on-campus services starting next week.

Superintendent Austin Beutner also said that the district hopes to invite elementary school students back by April 9, which is the first time he has offered a specific date.

The announcement came after Beutner weathered a threat from a city councilmember to sue LAUSD in order to force reopening. The local teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has consistently said that it wants teachers and staff to be vaccinated before they return to classrooms, a requirement with which Beutner seems to agree.

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Under the plan announced yesterday, educators and staff would return to campus on a voluntary basis to help provide child care, special education services, athletic conditioning and small-group tutoring.

Across the country, other cities are slowly working to reopen schools as well. New York City was the first large, urban public school system to reinstate in-person learning, allowing some elementary school students back into classrooms in December after a failed attempt to allow all students back in October. After many road bumps — including the inability to predict when classrooms will have to temporarily close because of a positive coronavirus test, a challenge that’s ongoing — the district will open for middle schoolers later this week.

In Chicago, public schools reopened to the youngest learners and those with special requirements on Feb. 11, after a heated battle between administrators and the teachers’ union.

And recent data shows that schools are more likely to be open for in-person learning in smaller, more rural areas.

Long Beach, which has prioritized vaccinating teachers, will begin reopening public schools on March 29. During a site visit yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the city’s efforts, and noted that there was “nothing more essential and more important we can do to support working women and single moms in particular, than getting our youngest kids back into school in cohorts.”

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Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.


What Else You Need To Know Today


Before You Go … Here’s What To Do This Week

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The Films.Dance series releases 'Edging Normal,' choreographed by Jacob Jonas and featuring a performance by Desmond Richardson. (Courtesy Film.Dance)

If there’s one thing we can count on in these crazy times, it’s that L.A. will still deliver on excellent virtual activities, even now, 11-plus months into our open-shut-open-shut reality.

This week: Check out comedians doing a Bling Empire live-read and fundraiser. Explore afroLAtinidad. Listen to Talib Kweli discuss his new memoir. Catch a screening of a documentary about a legendary L.A. fight venue. And more.


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