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.
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.
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:
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:
CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION!
NEW BTU STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.