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LAUSD, UTLA Reach Tentative Agreement On April Return To Campus

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Unified School District and United Teachers Los Angeles Tuesday reached a tentative agreement to reopen schools for in-person instruction.

"The agreement provides for the reopening of schools when Los Angeles County is in the red tier according to the state school guidelines, that all staff have access to the COVID vaccine and that schools are kept clean and safe," Superintendent Austin Beutner and UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a joint statement. "As we have both stated for some time, the right way to reopen schools must include the highest standard of COVID safety in schools, continued reduction of the virus in the communities we serve and access to vaccinations for school staff.

"This agreement achieves that shared set of goals," the statement continued. "It's our shared commitment to the highest safety standards and spirit of trust and collaboration we will take with us back to schools."

According to the agreement, preschools, elementary schools and services for students with learning differences and disabilities to reopen by mid-April and secondary schools will reopen for in-person instruction by the end of April.

On Wednesday, Beutner said that the goal of reopening schools as quickly and safely as possible had not changed as he gave a tour to Myart-Cruz and school board members of Panorama High School in Van Nuys.

"We got an agreement that is right for the entire LAUSD community," Myart-Cruz said during the tour.

The agreement also provides for a hybrid model, combining online and in-person instruction, with students remaining in small, stable cohorts while on campus to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, all students and staff will be tested for COVID-19 prior to their return to campus with weekly COVID testing once they return, masks and social distancing will be required at all times, social-emotional support will be provided to students, teachers will be provided with additional professional development and meals will be provided for students at schools.

Nicole Fefferman, a high school history teacher, said she's eager to see her students again and is ready to teach knowing that there will be protections in place for everyone on campus.

"I will certainly feel reassured, and I will certainly feel more capable to focus on my students and our work together knowing that the district is being held accountable, that they have made a commitment," she said.

The district has said it will spend $120 million to upgrade ventilation district-wide, including installing N95 quality air filters.

"We're all just going to do the best we can in a really sort of scary circumstance," Fefferman said.

The agreement is subject to the approval of the LAUSD board and ratification by the UTLA membership. If approved, the contract will be in effect through June 30.

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