LAUSD has notified our union that it intends to lift their current “Safer at Home” order. This means that potentially thousands more classified school employees will be required to return to work on-site as soon as Tuesday, February 16 – without a clear safety plan from the district.
With L.A. County still in the Purple Tier and infection outbreaks at sites where high rates of workers are testing positive for COVID-19 – including LAUSD’s Procurement Center where all grab and go meals are housed and delivered (55 cases), South Gate High School (23 cases), Bell High School (9 cases),and Huntington Park High School (5 cases) – expanding re-opening now is irresponsible.
Even LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner admits that the L.A. area does not meet the state standards for school reopening.
So why is LAUSD moving forward with this? All they have to do is look at the facts. According to the LA County Department of Public Health:
1 in 5 workers at LAUSD’s Procurement Center contracted COVID-19 in just one month
Over 60% of ALL COVID cases in educational settings in LA County have occurred at LAUSD
LAUSD is rushing to open under unsafe conditions and it’s SEIU Local 99 members – a majority of us Black and Brown workers – who are first in line to go back to work on-site in larger numbers.
Make no mistake, we believe in-person instruction is best for students, especially for our most vulnerable children – and we’re ready to go back to school when it’s safe to do so.
Indeed, many SEIU Local 99 members have worked proudly throughout this pandemic to feed families in need, sanitize campuses and support students with distance learning. We have called on the Governor and State Legislature to deploy resources to communities hardest hit by COVID and have pushed for the funding needed to provide every student with a safe and sanitary learning environment.
But we will not be sacrificial lambs as the district calls for a wider re-opening of schools and services without a clear plan to ensure everyone’s health and safety.
We are demanding that the district negotiate with our Bargaining Team this week to:
Postpone the rush to re-open on Feb. 16
Make plans to reopen when L.A. County is out of the Purple Tier and all workers are vaccinated
Include front line workers in all discussions regarding schools reopening
Ensure all existing safety protections and protocols are being followed for essential workers who are currently working at a school or worksite
Prioritize vaccinations for workers currently reporting to a worksite
Ensure emergency paid sick days for workers who must quarantine
Stay tuned for more and be ready to take action.