United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles city officials have come to a tentative agreement, creating a path for the nation’s second-largest school district to reopen.
Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District would return to in-person classes in mid-April under the tentative agreement struck Tuesday evening, according to city and union officials, The New York Times reported. The Los Angeles school board and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members still need to ratify the agreement.
“The right way to reopen schools must include the highest standard of Covid safety in schools, continued reduction of the virus in the communities we serve and access to vaccinations for school staff,” city and union leaders said in a joint statement, according to the NYT. “This agreement achieves that shared set of goals.”
As part of the deal, Los Angeles agreed to give priority vaccination access to teachers and implement strict safety measures in the district’s school facilities, the NYT reported. If the deal is ratified, it will represent the return of in-person instruction of one of the last major U.S. school districts to have held out for this long.
UTLA has previously condemned California’s statewide school reopening plan as “propagating racism.” The union said the plan provides funding to affluent and white districts.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this month that districts who don’t return to in-person schooling would forfeit state funding for personal protective equipment, ventilation infrastructure and testing.
“Since the height of the winter surge, we have successfully shifted the conversation from whether to reopen schools to when,” Newsom said in a statement March 1. “Now, our collective charge is to build on that momentum and local leadership, and – just as critically – do whatever it takes to meet the mental health and academic needs of our students, including over the summer.”