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Teachers Union Nears Agreement With LAUSD On Distance Learning

In an update streamed on Facebook on December 4, 2020, UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz discussed the negotiations over hybrid learning. (Screenshot of UTLA Facebook update)
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United Teachers Los Angeles is close to an agreement with the L.A. Unified School District that would extend an existing pact on distance learning, the union's president said in a video update this morning.

The current agreement, which was reached over the summer, was set to expire either when in-person classes resumed or on December 31, whichever came first.

With coronavirus cases surging in L.A. County and no chance that campuses will reopen by the end of the year, distance learning will have to continue in some form when the new semester starts in January.

Meanwhile, planning for and negotiations over an eventual return to school continue as families are asked to choose between in-person hybrid or online-only learning.

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From our overview of those negotiations last month:

[UTLA president Cecily] 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.

“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.”

In Friday's update, Myart-Cruz pointed to Los Angeles County's coronavirus purple tier status and high case numbers, and said "It's not a question of when, but if LAUSD schools will physically reopen during the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year."

We reached out to Los Angeles Unified for response to UTLA's comments on the ongoing negotiations. We will update if we hear back.

As these negotiations continue, parents are being asked to indicate their preference for in-person hybrid learning or online-only learning by Saturday. We'd love to hear from you about how you're making this decision. You can let us know by filling out this form.