Update #4: Attend the BTU COVID Taskforce Safe Arrival Procedures Demonstration on Sept 30th!

“BTU”

Dear Members,

Over the past two weeks I’ve seen so many examples of teachers and PSRPs going above and beyond. I’ve also received so many messages from members expressing their concerns over contract violations, ever-changing directives, and safety protocols. The CEO’s letter on Friday September 18th about changes to job assignments adds to the chaos and is giving many people concerns for their job security. For many teachers and PSRPs the combination of these difficult circumstances can make it feel like we are being buried, but the forces who are trying to bury us don’t realize we are seeds.

As a union, we have a responsibility to use our power to defend our rights, and as individuals, as parents, and as community members, we have a similar duty to fight for the safety of those we live with, teach with, and love. Over summer and into the fall we came together through actions like petitioning, caravaning, and letter-writing to the School Board and while our actions have made a difference in getting the district to negotiate, our demands remain: We want a fully virtual first semester, for the safety of educators, their students, their families and the communities they live in.

The BTU COVID-19 Taskforce will be hosting a socially distant, outdoor action as part of the 9/30 National Day of Resistance to Demand Safe Schools. This Day of Action is organized by a national coalition of teachers unions and community groups, and hundreds of educators across the country will be taking action to demand safe schools. The BTU COVID Taskforce’s event is titled National Day of Resistance: Showing What it Takes to Start Off Safe, and it will demonstrate the time, space, and manpower needed to conduct a safe and socially distant school arrival procedure. Educators are the experts on successful school operations, and we know what it will take to keep our students safe. Teachers who are familiar with the district’s in-person summer school experiment estimate that a safe daily school arrival procedure could take well over an hour if the protocols in the district’s reopening plan are followed exactly. In order to emphasize the importance of our message around safety and its logistical demands, social distancing will be strictly enforced at this event. Please register here with a personal email address if you are interested in more information and to RSVP for the event.

Defending our rights and our safety starts with being informed, and this week there are a number of important updates on a wide range of topics. Please take a moment to note the information below, and do not hesitate to reach out to BTU Staff with any questions and concerns.

Last week, district leadership also notified non-instructional paraprofessionals and school bus aides that the CEO is mandating that they are to physically return to work in school buildings, primarily to serve as monitors at the district’s newly established student learning centers. Despite our objections, the district is not making these assignments voluntary or offering hazard pay. Some staff may be eligible for leave or accommodations due to their personal, family, and/or health circumstances. Staff members who believe they are eligible for leave or who would like to request a reasonable accommodation, either because they are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 or under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), should do so as soon as possible. All requests are evaluated by the school system on an individual basis.
 
• Click here for information on leaves: Guidance on Leaves.
• Click here for the form for Accommodations for Those at Higher Risk.
• Click here for the form for ADA Accommodations.  
 
In addition to non-instructional paraprofessionals and school bus aides, school secretaries, office assistants, and some community school site specialists are the only other BTU classifications that are required by the district to work from school buildings at this time. While this could change at the CEO’s discretion, all other BTU affiliated job titles, such as instructional paraprofessionals, teachers, ITAs, and so on, currently cannot be required to work from school buildings. If an administrator is requiring on-site work for one of these classifications, contact your BTU Field Rep immediately.
 
For all staff, regardless of whether you’re working on-site or remotely, if you are directly affected by COVID-19, meaning you are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, caring for someone else with COVID-19-like symptoms, or caring for a child whose school or child care facility is closed, and therefore are temporarily unable to work, this may qualify you for public health emergency leave, which does not deduct from your earned sick leave. The process for requesting this leave is different. Upon notifying your administrator, you need to immediately complete the Public Health Emergency Leave Request Form. Your administrator should place you on administrative leave, and all further paperwork or sharing of medical information should happen through the Office of Human Capital, not through your school administrator. Please contact your BTU Field Rep if you need support.
 

Never forget – when we fight, we win.

In solidarity,


President Brown



OTHER UPDATES:

  • Last Friday, City Schools notified staff that temporary workers are being laid off and a hiring freeze for nearly all positions is going into place. We are alarmed by these moves, as temporary staff play a crucial role in many school buildings, and many students and staff have strong relationships with these workers. We are also greatly concerned about the additional tasks that will be placed on already overworked BTU members, and we will continue to press district leadership to provide educators with the resources and planning time necessary to do our jobs. While there was no reduction in force of BTU members, we remain greatly concerned about BCPSS finances. With declining city and state revenue, no federal stimulus, and an uncertain Kirwan bill, the fiscal status of City Schools will continue to be a top priority for BTU. We must stand together during these challenging times, calling on greater state and federal aid to help overcome any budgetary shortfalls.

  • The Baltimore Teachers Union has won a Level III Grievance over tenure notification procedures! You can read the full decision on the BTU website. As a result of this win, going forward, all teachers or other certificated individuals within the bargaining unit will be provided with written notification of tenure within one month of the date that City Schools establishes that tenure has been achieved. In addition, the Union will be provided with a list of the names of those teachers who obtained tenure during the 2019-20202 school year.

  • Experienced teachers! The New Teacher Steering Committee is looking for an educator who can create a tutorial video to walk new teachers through the process of how to navigate and use the different functions of Infinite Campus and Employee Self Service. We can compensate your $150 for your greatly-appreciated assistance. If you are interested, please reach out to Melissa McDonald at melissa.e.mcdonald@gmail.com and Geralda Thompson at vivteach1@gmail.com.

  • The Back to School issue of The Baltimore Educator is coming soon and will be mailed to the home addresses we have on file for all BTU members. We know many people want to save paper and would rather read the newsletter online, so if you would NOT like to receive the newsletter, please fill out the form here. If you WOULD like to receive the newsletter, but you’re not sure if we have your up to date mailing address on file, please complete this form with complete and up to date contact information (and you’ll also get a free BTU T-shirt and Back to School gift package!)

 


SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE US POSTAL SERVICE!

Currently, the USPS is under attack by the Trump Administration. In an effort to privatize the USPS and to discredit the institution, in the two months Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been on the job he has already:

  • FORCED offices to REDUCE hours and/or CLOSE altogether

  • REMOVED sorting MACHINES (necessary for sorting the mail quickly and accurately)

  • REMOVED collection BOXES in low income communities

  • REDUCED carrier HOURS so they are UNABLE to finish their routes


And so much more…

Our sisters and brothers in the American Postal Workers Union are asking you TODAY to stand with them as they push back. Join them as they PLEDGE to:

  • CONTINUE using the USPS over private carriers such as FedEx and UPS.

  • Tell others about the REAL cause of the ISSUES with mail delivery

  • WRITE to our Senators and DEMAND they fund the USPS.


CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION!

 


NEW BTU STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION


Chae

Carriere

443-676-6495

John

Casey

443-676-6554

Clifton

Denby

443-676-6681

Erica

Gardner

443-676-6450

Peggy

Gladden

443-676-6476

George

Hendricks

443-676-6501

Marisha

Ingram

443-676-6635

Neil

Ross

443-676-6407

Cindy

Sjoquist

443-676-6632


NOW AVAILABLE FOR MEMBERS ONLY!

Based on the requests from new teachers from the SY2019-2020, the BTU New Teacher Steering Committee created a private page on the BTU website to host our Instructional Toolbox, a resource site with links to educator topics such as observations and how to document as a special educator. This page is password protected, and since this message goes to several members’ work email addresses, we cannot share it here. Please email info@baltu.org from your personal email account for the password. Please peruse our experienced teachers’ videos and resources as well as start a discussion and ask questions about the topics. Since we just posted this private page, please let us know if you have any difficulties accessing the resources.


 
 
 
 

 

The BTU Private Facebook Group has topped 3,000 members!

Click here to join the discussion!