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Morning Brief: Getting Kids Back In School, Mudslides, And The Roaring 2020’s

Silhouettes of palm trees swaying in the wind against a building. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 11.

After a great deal of back and forth, officials at the L.A. Unified School District and its teachers’ union have reached an agreement about reopening campuses for in-person learning.

The agreement includes a handful of key points, reports my colleague Kyle Stokes, including that all teachers and school staff are offered the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, and that schools remain closed until the recommended two weeks after the second dose.

In addition, students and staff will be tested for the coronavirus weekly; masks and social distancing will be required; and meals will be provided for all students, whether they are learning online or in person. Preschoolers will return for full-time, in-person learning; elementary school students will return for hybrid learning; and middle and high school students will continue to learn online for the time being.

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The deal comes after a very, very long year for kids, parents and teachers.

In L.A., the digital divide — the difference in access to the internet and computers — became apparent almost immediately, as some students were unable to log in to classes for a wide variety of tech-related reasons. Kids with special education plans were also at a significant disadvantage, as were their parents.

The district reopened for some much-needed services in October, but was forced to shut those down again when coronavirus cases surged over the holidays.

Since vaccines have become more widely available, district officials have been inching towards a deal with teachers. But even LAUSD’s superintendent, Austin Beutner, refused to reopen campuses until a specific set of criteria were met.

A specific date isn’t in the agreement, but according to sources, officials are hoping to welcome elementary school students back for hybrid learning on April 19, and to welcome middle and high school students back in late April or early May.

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 … Thunder, Rain, And Hail!

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Rain falls in L.A. on Monday, Dec. 28. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Rain arrived in L.A. yesterday, and it will likely continue through tomorrow, with a chance of showers Friday.

In La Cañada Flintridge, there were reports of thunder and pea-sized hail (!!). Parts of the 818 looked like they were blanketed by snow. It’s also going to stay chilly through the weekend, so don’t be afraid to break out that L.A.-winter parka.

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