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LAUSD Teachers Union Rejects Proposal To Teach In Empty Classrooms

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The union which represents thousands of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District has rejected a proposal to have its teachers instruct students virtually from empty classrooms when the school year resumes next month.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) reported Tuesday that its bargaining team rejected a proposal from the district to have its teachers instruct students from empty classrooms.

The two sides are meeting daily to determine protocols for how virtual instruction will take place when the fall term begins on Aug. 18.

"While we know some of our members would like to teach from the classroom, the district has yet to provide clear safety protocols or evidence that it has secured the testing and person protective equipment necessary for staff to work from school sites," UTLA said in a statement on its website.

Furthermore, the UTLA bargaining team also rejected a proposal for an 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day, saying it would require students to be on computer screens for an unhealthy amount of time.

"LAUSD's proposals would require an excessive amount of screen time that is not healthy for children, would diminish educators' professional discretion, and would leave little time for much-needed collaboration," UTLA wrote.

Once the union's bargaining team and the district agree on a set of protocols, it will be presented to teachers for a full vote.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that public and private schools in all California counties on the state's coronavirus monitoring list – which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura – will start the fell semester with distance learning only due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

As of Wednesday, 38 counties are on the state's watchlist due to their number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Newsom says counties must be off the state's monitoring list for 14 consecutive days before public and private schools can physically reopen.

Prior to Newsom's announcement, several school districts in Southern California had already reported they would start out the year remotely, including LAUSD, San DiegoPasadena, Glendale, Long BeachSanta Ana, and most school districts in Ventura County.

LAUSD — the second largest district in the nation — serves more than 600,000 students at more than 1,000 schools. It employs about 75,000 people.

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