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Los Angeles: UTLA Votes to Keep Schools Closed Until They Are Safe

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For immediate release
July 10, 2020
Media Contact
Anna Bakalis 213-305-9654

POLL Results: 83% of UTLA members say LAUSD schools should not physically reopen August 18

Out of the more than 18,000 UTLA members who submitted responses to our informal poll in less than 12 hours, 83% agree with the UTLA Board of Directors and Bargaining Team that LAUSD should not physically reopen schools on August 18.

Because of the overwhelming response to the online member poll, the deadline to submit responses was extended to 8 pm. There were technical issues related to some aggressive spam filters that interfered with delivery and the poll function. The poll asked one question: Do you agree with the UTLA Board of Directors and UTLA Bargaining Team that LAUSD should not physically reopen school campuses on August 18th?

“It is hitting us hard to think we may not be back with our students in the fall,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said. “And we know this is hard on our students and their parents, so many of whom have stepped up as our partners in teaching while struggling with the economic fallout of this crisis. But safety must come first, along with a commitment to focus on strengthening distance learning.”

The spike in COVID cases — with California recording its highest one-day virus death toll this week — has changed the calculations for when it is safe to go back to schools. Even before the surge, there were serious issues with starting the school year on physical campuses. State and federal governments have not provided the resources or funds to start school safely, and there is not enough time for the district to put together the detailed, rigorous plans that must be in place to reopen our sites.

UTLA is bargaining with the school district and we have another bargaining session scheduled with LAUSD next week.

Other countries that have reopened schools — such as New Zealand, Vietnam, and Germany — did so only after they had flattened the curve, accompanied by broad societal preparedness, including rapid case identification, contact tracing, and isolation. The U.S. is not even close to meeting these benchmarks.

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