Los Angeles Teachers Union Reaches Deal With School District on COVID-19 Safety, Wage Hike

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
September 22, 2021 Updated: September 22, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and its teachers union announced a tentative agreement Wednesday on extended safety protocols and learning support for students who must quarantine because of COVID-19—as well as a 5 percent pay raise and other financial boosts for educators.

The agreement must be approved by a vote of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) membership and the LAUSD Board of Education. The UTLA member vote is scheduled for Sept. 30–Oct. 2.

If approved by both parties, the contract will be in effect through June 30, 2022.

According to the union, key elements of the agreement include:

—continued regular COVID-19 testing of all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, through at least Dec. 17;

—continued mandatory masking, indoors and outdoors, for all people on campus and continued use of MERV filters or equivalent air filtration systems for all classrooms until at least Dec. 1;

—creation of a quarantine procedures checklist of required actions by site administrators and the district when a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19 and students are quarantined;

—live access to instruction for quarantined students and a new agreement to ensure virtual instruction during wildfire-related school shutdowns; and

—new strategies to fill educator openings to meet parent demand for the City of Angels online independent study program.

In addition to the 5 percent wage increase—retroactive to July 1—the LAUSD said teachers will also receive $2,500 in one-time stipends, while school nurses will receive a $5,000 per 3-year retention incentive.

“First and foremost, the agreement recognizes that COVID-19 is still very much with us,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement.

“The agreement meets our critical goal of extending multi-layered COVID safety measures—including regular testing, masking, and air filtration—to keep our schools safe and open, and we secured a new quarantine checklist that will bring clarity and consistency across the district to how LAUSD responds to COVID cases.

“Health and safety must come first to protect everyone who walks through the doors of our classrooms and work spaces.”

Some of the protocols were scheduled to expire this month.

According to a joint statement from board President Kelly Gonez and Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly: “This agreement demonstrates our continued partnership amidst this unprecedented pandemic.

“It provides students and their families clear expectations and support for learning at home if they are asked to isolate or quarantine. This agreement also supports our educators and students during this difficult and unique time.

“We will continue to work with public health officials to maintain the safest possible learning environment and workplace for all.”