As parents express widespread dissatisfaction with distance learning, two influential California teachers unions are pushing against growing momentum to reopen schools in many communities, saying that campuses are not yet safe enough amid the pandemic.

Leaders with the California Teachers Assn., with 300,000 members, and United Teachers Los Angeles, representing 30,000 in the state’s largest school district, said that districts do not have the resources to provide the level of protection they say is needed to bring teachers and children together in classrooms.

“Our teachers want to be in front of the students,” said E. Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Assn. “We can’t do it unless it’s safe.”

Their stance carries weight in the coming weeks and months as teachers’ working conditions are part of union-negotiated contracts. Unions and districts need to return to bargaining tables to work out new schedules, classroom arrangements and workloads under the safety guidelines for operating in-person classes during the pandemic.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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