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100 Million Meals Provided By LAUSD During Pandemic

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LAUSD Meals (1)
Photo Courtesy of the LAUSD

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced that as of Monday, it has provided 100 million meals to students and community members in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today we are providing our 100 millionth meal to students and families in the communities we serve,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “It’s impossible to overstate the significance of that milestone. We knew the need would be great and we stepped up to do what we can to help.”

Beutner visited the Grab & Go Food Center at Garfield High School to mark what the district called “the somber milestone.”

According to the LAUSD, 80% of its students come from families who live in poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately caused job losses among them.

When the pandemic began, the district began providing meals to any student or community member in need. It also distributed 19 million supplies, including diapers, personal care items, athletic equipment and computers.

Sixty-three Grab & Go Food Centers across Los Angeles provide three meals per person between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. On Fridays, meals are provided for Saturday and Sunday.

Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, called the Grab & Go program “a serious lifeline to so many students and families in need during these very difficult times.”

“The 100 million meal milestone represents a truly extraordinary effort by Los Angeles Unified and it’s important that this program carries on for the duration of this crisis so that no student in Los Angeles goes hungry,” she said. “It wouldn’t be possible without the hard-working food
service workers who are putting these millions of meals together.”

The program was funded with $32 million in donations to L.A. Students Most in Need, a charitable fund that Beutner created as a safety net for the school community.

“Fortunately, Los Angeles Unified has been joined in this effort by businesses, individuals and philanthropic organizations who understand the need,” he said. “This nation-leading effort is a great reminder of what can be accomplished when we all work together to help those who need it most.”

The district will continue providing food to families and students until classrooms reopen.

LAUSD officials compared the 100 million meal milestone to giving a meal to every person in Germany and Switzerland combined, or the number of people that visit Disneyland in five years.

“While 100 million meals is a testament to the efforts of thousands of my colleagues who have been working tirelessly in difficult circumstances, it is also a stark reminder that families across Los Angeles are suffering,” Beutner said.

“Almost a year into the pandemic, our neighbors remain vulnerable. Children and their families worry about where the next bag of groceries will come from. Despite the heroic efforts of Los Angeles Unified, food insecurity remains a real threat to many thousands of our fellow Angelenos.”

More information about the Grab & Go centers, including a list of locations, can be viewed here.

Education

All LAUSD Schools To Reopen By End Of April, 25 Vaccination Sites Planned At Campuses

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San Fernando High School LAUSD

Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday that all Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campuses are expected to reopen for in-person learning by the end of the month. 

The district is set to open 61 elementary schools and 11 early education centers starting the week of April 12. The remaining elementary schools and early education centers will open the week of April 19, and middle and high schools will open the week of April 26, according to Beutner.

A COVID-19 testing program is in place for students with the superintendent reminding families to be tested this week if their school is reopening on April 12. 

 “Our goal isn’t just to reopen schools, it’s to make sure we can open them in the safest way possible with all students there,” Beutner said. “Many families who have chosen to remain in online instruction tell us their primary concern is that their child might go to school and, however, remote the possibility, bring the virus home to a family member in a multi-generational household.”

To assist in the return to in-person learning, the district is set to open 25 campus-based vaccination centers to serve families of LAUSD students. 

“Since this crisis began, Los Angeles Unified has had to balance three sometimes conflicting objectives – the learning needs of students, the impact the virus is having on working families and protecting the health and safety of all in the school community,” Beutner said. “We’re expanding the safety net we are providing to include vaccinations as part of our commitment to do all we can to protect the health and safety of everyone in the school community.”

The first two of these centers will open on Tuesday, April 6, at George Washington Preparatory Senior High School in South Los Angeles and Abraham Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles in collaboration with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. St. John’s will provide the doses of vaccine and the clinical staff to administer the shots while Los Angeles Unified will oversee the outreach to the school community and provide operational support at the school sites.

On April 9, Los Angeles Unified is set to open a vaccination center with the help of Northeast Community Clinics at Henry T. Gage Middle School to serve school families in the Huntington Park community. 

Los Angeles Unified testing centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. For details, call the Family Hotline at 213-443-1300. For more information about the campus-based vaccination sites, call 213-328-3958.

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Education

L.A. Teachers Union Approves School Reopening Agreement

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Classroom LA County School Reopening

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members have approved an agreement on the reopening of schools for in-person and hybrid instruction.

The vote was 89% in favor of the return, according to UTLA Communications Director Anna Bakalis.

A total of 20,413 ballots were cast from March 18 through March 21, with 18,127 members voting yes, according to UTLA officials.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board unanimously approved the agreement on March 11.

“Every step of the way, UTLA educators have kept our students and communities safer, from the call to close down schools early in the pandemic to holding the line against an unsafe return,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said. “While the improving COVID-19 situation is still fragile, we believe this agreement puts LAUSD on the path to a physical reopening of schools that puts safety first.”

The agreement provides for a hybrid model combining online and in-person instruction, with students remaining in small, stable cohorts while on campus to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the LAUSD.

Preschools, elementary schools and services for students with learning differences and disabilities are set to reopen by mid-April, with secondary schools opening by the end of April, according to the district.

The plan includes daily in-person instruction for elementary school students in a hybrid morning/afternoon model while maintaining the option for students to remain in online-only instruction, according to the LAUSD.

Secondary students are expected to continue with daily online instruction, along with the opportunity to return to campus for peer interaction, social-emotional learning and lessons for college and career exploration, the district said.

Full-day, in-person instruction is returning for preschool students, according to the agreement.

The district aims to maintain current teacher assignments whenever possible.

All students and staff will be tested for COVID-19 before their return to campus, and weekly COVID testing will be provided thereafter, according to the LAUSD.

Masks and social distancing are required for students, staff and visitors at schools, according to the guidelines.

Los Angeles Unified has already invested more than $120 million to upgrade air-filtration systems, procure adequate stocks of personal protective equipment and add extra custodial staff, according to district officials.

The LAUSD is also providing social-emotional supports for all students and additional professional development for teachers.

Meals will be provided for students at schools, whether they are receiving in-person or online instruction, according to the district.

The district is aiming for a mid-April in-person return for grades TK-6 and an end of April or beginning of May physical return for grades 7 through 12.

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Education

LAUSD, Teachers’ Union Reach Deal For In-Person Learning

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Classroom LA County School Reopening

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) announced Tuesday they have reached a tentative agreement on how to reopen schools for in-person instruction as soon as possible and in the safest way possible. 

The agreement provides for a hybrid model combining online and in-person instruction, with students remaining in small, stable cohorts while on campus to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the LAUSD.

Preschools, elementary schools and services for students with learning differences and disabilities are set to reopen by mid-April, with secondary schools opening by the end of April, according to the district. 

“The agreement provides for the reopening of schools when Los Angeles County is in the red tier according to the state school guidelines, that all staff have access to the COVID vaccine and that schools are kept clean and safe,” Superintendent Austin Beutner and UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a joint statement. “As we have both stated for some time, 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. This agreement achieves that shared set of goals. It’s our shared commitment to the highest safety standards and spirit of trust and collaboration we will take with us back to schools.” 

The plan includes daily in-person instruction for elementary school students in a hybrid morning/afternoon model while maintaining the option for students to remain in online-only instruction, according to the LAUSD.

Secondary students are expected to continue with daily online instruction, along with the opportunity to return to campus for peer interaction, social-emotional learning and lessons for college and career exploration, the district said. 

Full-day, in-person instruction is returning for preschool students, according to the agreement. 

The district aims to maintain current teacher assignments whenever possible.

All students and staff will be tested for COVID-19 prior to their return to campus, and weekly COVID testing will be provided thereafter, according to the LAUSD. 

Masks and social distancing are required for students, staff and visitors at schools, according to the guidelines. 

Los Angeles Unified has already invested more than $120 million to upgrade air-filtration systems, procure adequate stocks of personal protective equipment and add extra custodial staff, according to district officials. 

The LAUSD is also providing social-emotional supports for all students and additional professional development for teachers.

Meals will be provided for students at schools, whether they are receiving in-person or online instruction, according to the district. 

The agreement is subject to approval by the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education and ratification by the UTLA membership.

 If approved by both parties, the contract is set to be in effect through June 30, 2021.

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