December 12, 2017News
Fire School-Site Cleanup
Updated 12/14/17 | 7:44 PM
We hope everyone had a great start yesterday to the final week before the winter break, with special acknowledgment to staff who returned to fire-impacted schools after days of uncertainty. This is an especially busy time at all our schools — with everyone working hard on final exams, grading, and holiday programs —and you are showing commendable flexibility and diligence in getting your sites back on track.
As schools reopened yesterday, UTLA officers visited 24 sites in the Valley and Westside regions, with an emphasis on the most impacted schools, to make sure the district followed through on their commitment to a safe and clean reopening. We met with chapter chairs, administrators, and other educators who gave us a tour of the grounds. As we heard issues and concerns from members, we communicated those to the district in real time and got quick responses. At some sites, the major part of the cleanup was completed when doors reopened but additional work was needed into last night.
We were encouraged by the district’s expressed commitment to follow environmental guidelines, and we appreciate their accessibility and collaborative approach to this difficult and complicated situation. Reports are that the smoke damage and the amount of ash and soot were not as bad as expected.
Please let your Chapter Chair know if there are cleanup issues that are not resolved after you return to school, and he or she can contact your UTLA Area rep for support.
We do not have a definitive answer on whether makeup days will be scheduled. We continue to have regular and constructive conversations with the district and the state of California on this issue. We are arguing that scheduling makeup days is not the most logical path to take. We will keep working on this and will update you as soon as we know anything.
We are also pushing for the district and other officials to learn from what happened last week, so that action can be taken sooner if something like this should happen again. The days before schools were closed were very tough at many sites, with significant smoke and ash in the air affecting many students and employees.
We have also begun conversations with Labor Relations about issues related to property loss and fire-related damage.
Please email your individual concerns to our point officer, UTLA Treasurer Alex Orozco, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAUSD's Division of Student Health and Human Services, School Mental Health, is offering resources and information for educators, parents/caregivers, and students
Our union affiliates offer resources for members personally impacted by the fires.
- The CTA Disaster Relief Fund offers grants for members who have suffered significant losses due to the fires.
- The LA County Federation of Labor, through Labor Community Services (501(c)(3) nonprofit, is working to assist in relief efforts and in coordination with government and nonprofit agencies. If you, or someone you know, are in need of support for basic needs — including housing, food, or connection to others services — please contact Margarita at Margarita@theLAFED.org
- The CFT may be able to provide additional relief resources. If you are in personal need, email UTLA AFT Vice President Juan Ramirez at email@example.com.