LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The union representing Los Angeles Unified school teachers is calling on the district to close schools in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
United Teachers Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl urged Los Angeles Unified School District officials to “proactively close all charter and public schools” in the district during a web conference Thursday.
“Our members are professionals..and they’re going to be there for the time that it will take to get to the place of shutting the schools to shut down,” he said. “We expect that to be very rapid, very accelerated and really, to happen very quickly over the next day or so.
“Right now we are saying we believe a closure needs to happen quickly.”
Calling for “a proactive approach that gets ahead of the game rather than a reactive approach”, Caputo-Pearl also called for a 10-point “social safety net” program, including an additional two weeks of paid leave to cover a possible coronavirus quarantine period, free health care for coronavirus patients and free internet access for students.
The union’s statement comes hours after LAUSD officials issued a ban on large gatherings, but did not yet go as far as to cancel in-person classes or close schools. The district declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus earlier this week.
In a memo to school leaders, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said that any large assembly or gathering, such as an open house, should be canceled or postponed.
As of Thursday, there were no reports of any cases of coronavirus in any LAUSD schools.
In a tweet posted Thursday night, Beutner reiterated that LAUSD schools would remain on a regular schedule with modifications for large gatherings and events.
Update as of 8:32 PM PDT pic.twitter.com/2OVhpQ1vQ4
— Austin Beutner (@AustinLASchools) March 13, 2020
Late Thursday night, the LAUSD board announced it would hold an emergency meeting Friday at 7 a.m. to discuss the district’s response to Coronavirus, including but not limited to authorizations and measures to promote social distancing.