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Statement from Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner on UTLA Agreement (12-18-20)

CONTACT:                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shannon Haber, 213-293-1289                              December 18, 2020

Statement from Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner
On Agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (December 18, 2020) – Los Angeles Unified and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) have reached agreement on enhancements to online instruction for students when the new semester begins in January. 

This progress in online instruction reflects the shared learning of all who work in schools about the need to maximize the interaction between teachers and students and their families. 

Specifically, highlights of the agreement include: 

  • Maintaining the relationship between teachers and students by continuing current class assignments. 
  • Additional office hours, an increase of 30 minutes each day, Tuesday through Friday. 
  • 20-30 additional minutes of synchronous instruction for Grades 1-12 on Mondays. 
  • Increased staff professional development of one hour per month, focused on social emotional learning. 
  • The first day of the new semester on January 11, 2021, will be a Pupil-free Day to give educators time for planning, preparation and professional development focused on increasing student engagement. 
  • A separate agreement provides for in-person nursing services to support school-based COVID-19 testing. 

While the current dangerous level of COVID-19 in the communities we serve is keeping school facilities closed, it’s our desire to reopen schools as soon as possible in the safest way possible. 

We are continuing to work through all of the details on how to provide the best possible education when students are able to return to campuses. To put it mildly, this is not simple as we have to balance the need for as much in-person instruction with protecting the health and safety of all in the school community in 1,400 schools with about 650,000 students and 75,000 employees all spread across 700 square miles. 

Los Angeles Unified and UTLA have agreed on a deadline of January 24 to complete a plan to provide hybrid programs, which include in-person instruction, when health conditions allow, as well as a plan to increase the number of students who can participate in one-on-one and small-group instruction at schools, with an emphasis on high-needs students. We recognize the need to finalize the details on this as soon as possible so educators have the time they will need to plan and families can be fully informed on their choices. 

The following principles are guiding us as we work through the details with UTLA: 

  • Maintaining the highest standards for health and safety in schools.

  • Providing as much in-person instruction and mental health support for students as possible.

  • Allowing families to choose the option that is the best for their children. 

In addition, we are in discussions about the opportunity to offer in-person instruction for students during the summer to help them recover lost learning opportunities, deal with the anxiety and trauma from the pandemic and add enrichment to their lives. 

Los Angeles Unified has already reached agreements with Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, California School Employees Association Chapter 500, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, Service Employees International Union Local 99 and Teamsters Local 572 on both hybrid plans and increased student participation in one-on-one and small-group instruction. 

Our goal is to continue to provide the best possible education for students while protecting the health and safety of all in the school community.