Published On: March 14, 2020

Dear BTU Family,

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.  As you can probably imagine, we are getting hundreds of questions each day and are trying our best to answer individually, but may not respond individually if questions are answered in our collective updates. Thank you for understanding.

Based on what we know right now, here are some answers to common questions:  

  • As of now, the DESE guidance says that districts do not have to extend the school year beyond the 5 snow days that are scheduled in. This means we are currently at June 22nd with one snow day, but shouldn’t go beyond June 26. Please note, this may change, and current DESE guidance does not allow any district to go beyond June 30.
  • Cluster Substitutes and Long-Term Substitutes will be compensated as usual and are also expected to report on the days the district has asked all staff to come in. We are advocating for and working out ways to help per-diem subs remain whole, as well.
  • To clarify, members of the Teacher, Para and ABA bargaining units will all continue to receive compensation as usual.
  • Those who are already on leaves will return as scheduled and will receive back days where school is closed and staff are not asked to report, including next Tuesday (similar to snow days and school holidays.)
  • In an effort to streamline common questions so that we can best advocate and get answers, we are asking that BTU members submit general questions here. For individual questions, please do continue to reach out to your Field Reps.We also wanted to be more clear about what we have already been advocating for in addition to immediate district-wide school closures, and in addition to advocating for those impacted by the Eliot School closures, which were our main priorities the last few days. Here are those items:
  • We are advocating for the ability to work remotely on the days that the district is currently seeking in-person attendance.
  • We are advocating for the return of sick day usage for women who are pregnant and others who have had doctor’s notes and who are at risk.
  • We are advocating for clear guidelines and expectations of remote teaching and learning and asking that teachers be at the table to create them.
  • We have been asking for supplies and resources to keep students and staff safe and have shared our recommendations from our school nurses.
  • We have asked for cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, soap and water.
  • We have asked for clarity on how paraprofessionals, early education teachers, special education teachers, related service providers, specialists and others may also be able to offer educational supports.
  • We are putting together online resources.
  • We are looking to expand our Homework Helpers Program to support students not in school.
  • Lastly, we have offered help on thinking through ways to make sure our most vulnerable students and families have access to food, services, support and child care, and are working in coalition with others to do this. Many of our members have asked how they can support families who may need help during this difficult time. If you are interested in joining our BTU Volunteer Corps, please fill out this form.
Again, we urge everyone to look out for each other as best as they can, to stay calm, and to know that we are here for you, too. 

More updates will be forthcoming.
Thank you,
Jessica Tang

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