LOS ANGELES — Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are urging the district in a petition to allow them to continue to work from home.
LAUSD will welcome students back to the classroom starting the week of April 12, and while students have the option to stay home, teachers and staff are required to return.
San Pedro High School English teacher Maya Suzuki Daniels said a return to campus means she won’t have childcare for her son.
“You’re really pushing on me this impossible choice between the job situation or my toddler,” Suzuki Daniels said.
Working from home is a juggling act, and she, too, wants to go back to the classroom. Yet, she isn’t ready to send Silas back to daycare because she’s not convinced it’s safe enough.
“I want him to get that socialization, but I’m so nervous because, to me, the stakes are so incredibly high,” Suzuki Daniels said. “Reading about parents whose kids have gotten sick and still struggling with that sickness, you can’t take that back.”
Suzuki Daniels started a petition asking LAUSD to give teachers the option to continue remote learning. Over 2,100 teachers and other staff members have signed. They’d like employees with child care challenges included in an existing waiver process.
“There is already a waiver process for folks who have or are at risk for health reasons and medical reasons, and I think that short term what a lot of people have said is why not expand that to people who have young kids, have kids in other districts, have kids who are medically fragile or at risk and just get us through this kind of interim 7 to 10 weeks,” Suzuki Daniels said. “Then make us a priority when we talk about going back long term.”
She said young teachers are the future of the profession, and they should be given support at this unprecedented time.
“It’s people like me who are really passionate and committed to this work, but we have to do both. We have to be able to raise families in this environment, and that’s going to require employer support,” Suzuki Daniels said.
LAUSD told Spectrum News they don’t have a statement in response to the petition.
Suzuki Daniels is a union site representative and has reached out for help to United Teachers of Los Angeles, or UTLA.
“We are pressing LAUSD to provide accommodations for employees with childcare needs as well as health risks, including permitting educators to provide distance learning at home and believe the district needs to survey their employees to determine how many need such accommodations,” the union said in a statement released weeks ago.
Suzuki Daniels still hasn’t heard whether she will have to return to campus.