LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District who have to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure will soon be able to livestream their classes in order to minimize any interruptions in their learning.
For the second time since school started, Joana Puccini's 11-year-old son, Juan, is under quarantine. In both instances, the 11-year-old LAUSD middle school student was exposed to a COVID positive classmate.
"One of my concerns is that he will fall behind because this is the third week of school, a new school," Puccini said, adding that her son, who is in the sixth grade, was sent home with assignments.
"But he needs to work on his own. Independent learning without any instruction, doing homework," said Puccini.
LAUSD has announced that starting September 8, students in all grade levels will be able to watch their classes via livestream if they're quarantined. In a statement, the interim superintendent stated, "Students and families need clear expectations and support for learning at home while they're asked to isolate or quarantine."
Though United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, says the district made the decision to livestream classes without any input from the union.
"This is something that should have been agreed upon and bargained on prior to the start school," says Jenna Schwartz, who runs a Facebook group for LAUSD parents and staff called Parents Supporting Teachers.
Schwartz's own son, a sixth grader, is currently home on quarantine, and she's been vocal about all kids needing live instruction.
"So, he and I had a conversation last night about what it will look like when he goes back to school and he said I am worried all my classmates will have been doing stuff that he hasn't been doing," Schwartz says.
The teachers' union accuses the district of sending out its directive "in an act of bad faith bargaining," adding that the district's plan wasn't vetted by parents or educators. UTLA's proposal calls for a pay raise for teachers, strengthened quarantine protocols, a classroom camera for live instruction and office hours for quarantined students, which would allow greater flexibility for families.
"While the union and the district may be frustrated with each other, the fact is the kids need to be the priority here," Schwartz says.
The union said it plans to file a formal complaint against the district, and added that it's also pushing for a vaccine mandate for all eligible students now that the Pfizer vaccine has approval from the Food and Drug Adminstration.
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