Published On: March 18, 2020

Dear BTU Family,

We hope you are all staying safe as we collectively manage challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continually getting updates from the offices of the Superintendent and the Mayor, and are in constant dialogue with them. We are committed to disseminating this information to you all as quickly as possible. Thank you, as always, for your patience during these unprecedented times. 

Here are a few COVID-19-related updates:
  • Today we released our BTU Common Good demands, advocating for immediate relief for impacted communities, additional paid sick days, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and more in face of the unprecedented public health crisis. Find out more about the demands and what you can do to help.
  • BPS and the City of Boston have informed us that all employee groups will be paid for the next three pay periods the same as the pay period from 2/29-3/13. Thank you to Mayor and Superintendent for their support.  This includes all BTU members, including per diem subs. Per diem subs will not need to collect unemployment because they will continue to receive compensation. All health benefits will be covered as they would normally be covered. Substitutes, please contact Colleen Hart at for any questions about this. Remote work is expected to the extent possible during this time.
  • We know that remote learning is a new experience for many educators, students, and families. Even so, we are seeing the incredible creativity, resourcefulness, commitment, and professionalism from educators across the city as you all have been going above and beyond to get ready to support our students going forward. Please see this joint statement from BTU and BPS as initial guidance in helping our educators to foster supplemental education through remote learning. The letter is a bit lengthy but begins to answer many of the questions we have received and can answer thus far, for example, there is no official grading (per DESE guidelines) and videotaping cannot be required.
  • For more information about state guidelines on serving students with disabilities during this closure, please see guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the US Department of Education.
  • We have been advocating for a thoughtful approach to common expectations focused on staying connected, ensuring equity and access across schools, grade levels, and student profiles during the period of remote learning. We will be negotiating specifics over the next two days. Please share your school’s directive using this google form to help us better what is happening across the district.
  • The school closures for COVID-19 present a new set of teaching and learning challenges and opportunities. Please fill out this survey to help the Telescope Network better understand how they can support teachers and families in this new learning climate.
  • United Way has established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund to provide immediate emergency assistance to families impacted by the current public health crisis. This Fund is a dedicated resource for working families affected by this crisis. Please contact Mark Flaherty (617-624-8171) for more information and the next steps on how we can work together to help our community in this time of need.
  • This new resource list features free online tools for educators and parents alike. From online communication tools, like Zoom, or online classes from Scholastic, recommendations are based on age group and topic to make it easy to find something for everyone.
Here are a few more updates from the BTU office: 
  • Reminder: Starting today, March 18, BTU staff will be working remotely and the office will be closed. We will re-evaluate our closing regularly as things develop. All BTU officers and staff are available via phone and email for individual questions.  Find staff contact information.
  • Contacting the BTU Health and Welfare Fund Office- If you require services from, or have questions for, the BTUHWF Fund Office please call 617-288-0500 and leave a detailed message with your call back information, the fund office staff will return calls by the next business day. If you have an urgent issue that cannot be delayed, please call the Fund Administrator at 617-446-3511 between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm Monday thru Friday. No walk-ins to the Fund Office, please.
  • Please note that the BTUHWF Softball Season has been canceled for Spring 2020.
  • Over 900 educators, parents and students have signed up to participate in the BTU Volunteer Corps. We looking for volunteers to help out with childcare to the families of first responders, home care workers, and others; delivering meals to senior residents; small group tutoring or chaperoning and other such public service functions that will be needed in the days and weeks ahead. Sign up here.
  • As a part of our common good demands, we’re joining Citizens for Public Schools to call on DESE to cancel MCAS. Contact your representatives and tell them to cancel MCAS now and don’t forget to share our full list of BTU Common Good Demands

We will continue sending more updates periodically as more information becomes available to us. Be well and be safe! 
Jessica Tang

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