Published On: December 1, 2020

We hope that you all had a safe Thanksgiving holiday break with your families and were able to enjoy the days off. As we mentioned in our last bulletin, we are so grateful for the incredible work you all have been doing over the last several months and will continue to do during this unprecedented school year. 

It is important for everyone to be aware that the next phase of in-person learning is imminent. The HIPP Task Force met yesterday evening, and the district shared that it is currently looking at the schools with the highest number of HIPP students with disabilities, specifically PL3 and students with complex needs. The next round may include dozens more schools. If the COVID rates continues to decline, ALL schools may resume HIPP phase-in, and if rates fall below 4% and under, the original phase-in of early education would occur next.  

All schools should be preparing in anticipation of a possible return to hybrid in-person instruction in the near future.  We strongly advise school communities to come up with the best plan possible and to submit plans to the Reopening Task Force as soon as possible. As shared by the Superintendent to school leaders and reinforced by the 9/29 Hybrid Learning Agreement, school communities can and should consider creative scheduling and flexibility staffing to best meet the learning needs of the students, which includes alternatives to simultaneous teaching.

Our second session to hold space for Building Reps and CAT leaders to reflect on the most recent round of action-readiness assessments and learn from others about best practices to strengthen our school structures will be this Thursday, Dec. 3, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. This will also be an opportunity to learn how to build a CAT team, if you don’t already have one. Register for the zoom link.

AFT President Randi Weingarten penned an op-ed for The Hill detailing what school districts need to consider as they begin the process of reopening, stating that, “transparency and collaboration matter. Trust takes engagement.” She also writes: “Our children have endured disruptions to their lives and education. They are the last people who should pay for the failures of others, from people who refuse to wear masks to officials in government. We must not give up on the spring semester.”

School districts across the state have been less than transparent about COVID cases in our schools, so AFT-MA and MTA have partnered to track COVID cases. If you know of a confirmed positive case, please use this website to help us keep track. Please do not assume that someone has already done so! We may follow up with you if it is not already a confirmed case. 

At our last membership meeting, the following motion was held out on the floor from the Executive Board meeting minutes and passed: “The BTU President will convene a committee for the purpose of reviewing our bylaws concerning elections including who is eligible to vote for various elected offices, and the best way to build elected representative bodies to ensure that all bargaining units and job categories of the union are represented on those bodies. The committee shall report on its findings including majority and minority opinions no later than the September 2021 Executive Board Meeting.” If you are interested in joining this committee, please send your name and paragraph explaining your interest to Matt Bouvier by December 31, 2020.

If you are a per diem sub who has been unable to obtain work, we suggest you file for  unemployment retroactive to June. If denied, you should file an appeal with the unemployment office.

Lastly, as we reiterated last week, thank you all for your continued engagement in our union advocacy. Our work is not over! Please see our Political Action page for several post-election updates. Contact Political Director Johnny McInnis or Political Organizer Roberto Jimenez for any questions! 

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