Los Angeles High Schools May Open In Late April; NYC Sets March 22 – Deadline

LAUSD chairman Austin Beutner at a Monday briefing confirmed plans for a mid-April opening for preschool and elementary school students and targeted the end of April for secondary schools.

Elementary schools could have opened this month. However, the District has been negotiating with the United Teachers Los Angeles, which has requested access to vaccines among other points before members return to the classroom. A deal with the union is expected this week, Beutner said.

“We need a completed agreement with UTLA so we can begin sharing the guidelines by the end of this week,” Beutner said. “The middle of April is a bit more than one month away [and] “there’s a lot work to do to finalize the details and make sure they’re right” for the District’s 1,400 schools. He called a proposed multi-billion dollar investment by the state “a Marshall Plan for schools” that will help fund everything from extra teachers and tutors to custodial staff and cleaning supplies to school psychiatrists and counselors.

The deal, confirmed last week by CA legislators, carries a caveat: Schools need to open by April 1. If they do not, LAUSD will have to forfeit 1% of it’s portion of the newly-allocated cash for every day its schools remain closed.

Meanwhile, Beuter, said LAUSD will follow state and local guidelines to allow participation in outdoor sports.

On the other coast, in New York City, public high schools will start in person classes on March 22, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.

The nation’s largest school district will offer full-time in person instruction at about half of its 488 high schools with the others moving to a hybrid model. Sports will restart in April and run through August instead of ending with the academic year.

New York schools have been closed since November. Today’s announced by De Blasio at a press briefing, means that 55,000 high school students who signed up for in-person classes last fall can start.  The majority of the total 282,000 students chose last fall to go remote-only due to Covid-19 fears. De Blasio said it’s not possible right now for them to opt back in but might be before the school year ends June 25.

As for the fall, he said, “We are bringing our schools back fully in September, period.”

Middle school students returned to the classrooms last month and elementary schools in December.

DeBlasio also weighed in on embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, currently the target of two investigations – for alleged underreporting of nursing home deaths and alleged sexual harassment after five women publicly accused him of harassment and inappropriate behavior.

“I just don’t see how he can govern effectively when fewer and fewer people believe him,” De Blasio said. “I think that there is more information that is going to come out and that will make it harder and harder.” What’s happening in Albany is “very sad,” he said.

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