LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Some 97% of United Teachers of Los Angeles members voting approved an agreement with the LA Unified School District to extend COVID-19 safety protocols and support for online learning, union officials announced.
The balloting took place Thursday through Saturday, and 15,791 ballots were cast, union officials said. There were 15,344 yes votes and 447 no votes, the union announced Saturday.
Both sides agree to extend multi-layered COVID safety measures, including regular testing, masking and air filtration. It also establishes a new quarantine checklist to promote clarity and consistency in the district's response to COVID cases.
The agreement also gives students who must quarantine live access to instruction by their teacher and ensures virtual instruction during wildfire- related school shutdowns. "As educators, we want to help make sure that students who have to quarantine stay connected to the classroom so that they can jump right back in when they return," UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said.
In addition, new strategies to fully staff the City of Angels program, the totally online learning option, will be implemented under the agreement, the union said.
LA Unified has among the lowest number of COVID infections among the nation's largest school districts because of the safety protocols that educators, parents and community members have fought for and won, union officials said.
"Since the full physical reopening of schools in August, Los Angeles classrooms and work spaces overwhelmingly have been safe places to teach and learn," Myart-Cruz said. "Our top priority is keeping them that way. Since day one of the pandemic, UTLA educators have prioritized the health of our communities, and we take pride in continuing to lead on issues of safety in our schools."
The LAUSD School Board is scheduled to vote on the agreement on Oct. 12.