The Los Angeles school district is set to unfold a gradual and partial reopening plan on Tuesday, one that was heavily influenced by teachers union demands that led to a delayed start date and limited live instructional time — and also by strict safety imperatives shared by both the district and union.
L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner has hailed the reopening as a nation-leading model for school safety that is sensitive to families in low-income communities hardest hit by illness and death during the pandemic. But the approach has also generated criticism from those who say the quantity and quality of instruction for 465,000 students have been sacrificed this year as a result of union concerns.
The key safety provisions — including mandatory coronavirus testing for students and staff as well as six-foot distancing between desks — go beyond what health authorities require. The distancing policy has resulted in a half-time on-campus classroom schedule. The timing of reopening — about two months after elementary campuses were eligible to reopen — was set to allow teachers and other district staff to achieve maximum vaccine immunity.
These decisions have defenders, including many parents who live in neighborhoods devastated by COVID-19 and who are still undecided about whether it is safe enough to send their children back to school. But the choices of Beutner and the school board have come with tradeoffs.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.