As we wind down for the winter break, we want to wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy holiday season and very happy New Year. 2020 has brought immeasurable heartbreak and tragedy, and we understand that the holidays can be a very hard time when dealing with loss and trauma. Please take this time to take care of yourselves and loved ones. You deserve the break, and we are holding you all in our hearts and wishing nothing but the best for you all as we turn the page into the new year.
As we plan our next steps at the Boston Teachers Union, we need to hear from as many BTU members as possible to best inform our planning during the break and into January. Please take a few minutes to complete the official BTU Reopening survey in the member portal and encourage your BTU colleagues to do the same. This is an official school reopening survey from the BTU. We are aware that an unofficial and unsanctioned survey has been making the rounds in many schools. We do not have access to that survey data and ask that you please fill out the official survey in the BTU member portal even if you filled out that one. If you have trouble getting to the survey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Survey deadline: December 30, 2020.
While we are glad to see that Congress is passing a second Covid Relief package that brings some relief to our communities, we know that there is much more still to do. Please see AFT Randi Weingarten’s statement on the stimulus bill. While the bill brings much needed relief to school districts, unfortunately, an extention of the Families First Coronavirus Reflief Act (FFCRA) was not included in this latest bill, which means FFCRA is set to expire on December 31. While the usual leaves options will remain intact, we are seeking clarification on whether or not the city may extend any of those benefits still. We will keep everyone posted on any new developments as we are able to.
It is now apparent that the new Secretary of Education nomination from president-elect Joe Biden will likely be Connecticut Education Commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona. We have reached out to our sister union at AFT Connecticut as well as AFT National, and they have both shared their support of his nomination and described a collaborative relationship with Dr. Cardona. See a joint statement from President Weingarten and President Hochadel from AFT Connecticut.
Finally, as we continue to reach out to our families and parents to work together for our students and schools, we presented our S.E.T. demands and MassCOSH’s prsentation on safety to nearly 80 parents at St. Stephen’s. These were mostly parents to students who are English learners, special education students, or both. The parents took a survey on their biggest converns surrounding school reopening, and 89% reported that their biggest concern was their child’s health and safety with respect to COVID in the school.
The parents also indicated concern overe not being able to help their child with virtual school because they work outside of the home (24%), worry about their child falling behind due to not being in school in person (39%), and worry that their child will transmit the virus from school to the parent or another person in the house (37%). We want to hear from more families and parenst, and also share what we have been fighting for when it comes to Safety, Equity and Transparency in our schools. Please invite your families and parent councils to the family forum next Tuesday and have them register here and spread the word through our Facebook event!
The fight for the Senate continues! Make calls to voters in Georgia to help labor’s endorsed candidates, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, win the Georgia runoffs so the Democrats can take back the Senate! Email MA AFL-CIO Senior Organizer Brian Dunn to volunteer & receive instructions. You can make calls from home on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. There are several more opportunties to volunteer on the AFT Mobilize homepage. Contact Political Director Johnny McInnis or Political Organizer Roberto Jimenez for any questions!