Delay in reopening of fall school, says teachers union

Los Angeles teachers union leaders on Friday will ask that the campuses remain closed and that distance learning continue when the school year begins on August 18, The Times reported. Union leaders have concluded that it is not safe to bring children back to campus as COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County reach new levels.

The union will also release a report suggesting the parameters for the reopening will be difficult to meet in the near future, although they are in line with what some health experts recommend.

Los Angeles school officials have yet to make a decision on the reopening, but when this happens, the district will offer two options: a home learning program and a hybrid plan that would combine home learning with timely attendance. Partial on campus in small socially distant classes.

Earlier in the week, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer told school district leaders that they should prepare for the possibility that students need to continue learning remotely 100% of the time at the beginning of the school year.

In effect, the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, is calling to go one step further and make the decision now, giving families and employees time to prepare. The union’s position has influenced issues related to the pandemic. In March, union leaders demanded that the campuses be closed and that the Los Angeles Supt. Austin Beutner announced that move the next day.

The union is negotiating with district officials about working conditions for the fall.

In a statement, union president Cecily Myart-Cruz acknowledged the shortcomings of distance learning, but said health considerations had to be a top priority.

“We all want to physically open schools and return to our students, but life is hanging by a thread,” said Myart-Cruz. “Safety has to be the priority. We need to do this well for our communities. ”

Criticizing the politicization of health considerations, Myart-Cruz singled out President Trump, who this week called for the reopening of the campuses and threatened to withhold funds from those who did not. The president and his advisers insisted that children would be better off in traditional classes and that a regular school schedule would allow parents to return to work, helping families and also providing a necessary boost to the economy.

In making that argument, Trump questioned the safety advice provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as too expensive and impractical, tweeting: “I will meet with them!” However, the CDC said Thursday they would not revise its guidelines.

Given the surge in the virus in Los Angeles County, Myart-Cruz called Trump’s threats on funding “alarming.”

“We have to take a position against this dangerous and anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students and all of our families at risk,” he said.

In a Facebook thread this week, union members, which include teachers, counselors, nurses, and librarians, voiced their concerns.

“Do you think I’m safe at 71 when I go to a student classroom … or one of my colleagues?” Sandy Dorfman, who teaches at Castlebay Lane Elementary in Porter Ranch, wrote. “The air conditioning system will recirculate sick air throughout the school! Has anyone thought of that? Does anyone think that children maintain masks correctly? Do you think we can listen to elementary school children through masks? All day, the children who come out of class to go to the bathroom … touch the doorknobs, crazy!

During the pandemic, Marcela A UTLA member and special education teacher at Robert Louis Stevenson College and Career Prep in Boyle Heights, Chagoya taught her classes remotely while monitoring her 10-year-old son’s progress at home. In addition, she helps care for her 84-year-old mother, who receives oxygen 24 hours a day, and her 50-year-old brother, who is autistic and nonverbal.

Although she is committed to teaching, she said she cannot risk returning to the classroom.

“It is not possible … to get them to wear a mask, so they don’t run and hug or hug adults,” he said of the students. “Safe reopening is impossible for that specific student population.”

She teaches sixth grade students who have learning difficulties and read on third grade level or below. When the pandemic came, she bought a new laptop with personal funds and spent hours guiding students on how to manage their Internet browser and Zoom, a video conferencing application that allows them to interact with students live or post recorded lessons.

“It was not easy,” said Chagoya.

She waits for more technological hurdles to come. But she said she doesn’t feel comfortable coming back in person. She wants the district to wait a month or more to see if the curve is flattening and cases are going down.

“I love my children and miss them very much,” he said, “but there is no way I can teach them if I get sick. There is no way I can teach them if they get sick. Or if I sick my mother.

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