March 21, 2021News
UTLA members have overwhelmingly approved the agreement with LAUSD on a safe physical return and hybrid instruction. Over four days of voting from March 18 through 21 conducted by Integrity Voting Systems, 20,413 ballots were cast, with 89% Yes ballots (18,127) and 11% No (2,286).
The agreement achieves all three of our safety criteria (LA out of the purple tier, vaccine access, and safety protocols) and establishes strict and enforceable safety procedures that are the highest safety standards in the nation. The CDC’s recent shift calling for only 3 feet of physical distance in schools instead of 6 feet will not impact our agreement or any of the other protocols, including PPE, improved ventilation, and daily cleaning and disinfecting.
“Every step of the way, UTLA educators have kept our students and communities safer, from the call to close down schools early in the pandemic to holding the line against an unsafe return,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz says. “While the improving COVID-19 situation is still fragile, we believe this agreement puts LAUSD on the path to a physical reopening of schools that puts safety first.”
LAUSD is a large and complicated district that will need sufficient planning time to prepare for the return to schools, and the agreement requires that educators be given access to vaccination with time for both shots and the necessary time for full efficacy. At this point, the district is tentatively planning for a mid-April physical return for TK-6 and an end of April-beginning of May physical return for grades 7-12.
As with any contract agreement, enforcement of the health and safety provisions will be key. Every school will have a COVID-19 Compliance Task Force that includes the Chapter Chair or their designee. The task force will meet weekly to address any issues with safety compliance. UTLA chapter leaders can use this checklist to make sure that all safety procedures and protocols are in place at every school.
UTLA and LAUSD are bargaining now over how to safely provide Special Education services, Designated Instructional Services, Health and Human Services, and VAPA Itinerant services to students in the hybrid schedules. Affected UTLA members will vote on the negotiated sideletters.