Published On: December 21, 2021
We are wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy holiday season and very happy New Year! 2021 has been another challenging year, and we appreciate the love and dedication you all bring to everything you do. Please enjoy your well-deserved winter break, and we look forward to turning the page into 2022 with all of you.

As you have probably seen, Mayor Wu announced a policy change yesterday, requiring city employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and removing the weekly testing option unless employees have an accommodation. Once we were notified of this change, the BTU sent a demand to bargain about the impacts of the policy. Our team will meet with BPS negotiators to be sure that the policy is implemented fairly and equitably, including adequate access to vaccinations, a timeline that works for our members, assurance that BPS will follow the law regarding exemptions for medical or religious reasons, and any other necessary conditions. The BTU continues to encourage all eligible members and students to get vaccinated and boosted. We will keep you posted on any developments regarding this policy.

On Wednesday evening, BTU nurses and other members joined BPS families for a candlelit rally and vigil at the State House to “shine a light” on safety measures in BPS schools. The rally, organized by Families for COVID Safety and allies, made six demands:

  1. Enhance safety and ventilation especially during meal times.
  2. Ensure consistent pooled testing in every school and increase the percentage of students who participate in testing through a robust education and outreach plan.
  3. Guarantee prompt and reliable contact tracing in every school.
  4. Coordinate with healthcare partners on a robust outreach and service provision plan to increase the percentage of students who are vaccinated. 
  5. Use the BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool to evaluate the implementation of COVID mitigation strategies.
  6. When health authorities order a school to switch to remote instruction because of a COVID outbreak, DESE must count the days of remote instruction toward the state-mandated 180-day school year.  
Families and BTU members spoke out: “Contact tracing is simply not happening at many of our schools,” said Boston Teachers Union Pilot School nurse Heidi Winston. “Myself and other nurses have tried to do the entire process as well as the full-time job of taking care of our students that we always do. I’ll be honest and say we can’t do it. We demand that BPS and state leaders be honest with parents, too.”

Last night at the Our City Our Schools Town Hall, members shared their stories about the harms of top-down state interventions and designations. At the UP Schools and Dever – schools that in the last 10 years were subjected to “turnaround” measures that undermined the union contract and worsened working conditions – members are fighting for Equal Pay for Equal Work. At Charlestown High School, members are fighting a school takeover proposal that was written with zero input from current Charlestown staff, students, or parents. Schools like Charlestown are vulnerable to these kinds of proposals because the state continues to label several of our schools as “under-performing” simply for serving higher numbers of vulnerable student populations that don’t perform as well on standardized tests that measure socio-economic status and race more than learning. Join the growing number of BTU members organizing to resist harmful designations and interventions at

Finally, congratulations to Lydia Edwards in winning the primary state Senate special election! Councilwoman Edwards is a strong advocate for our students and schools, and we are #ALLIN to elect her in January!

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