Published On: February 23, 2021
We hope you all are staying warm and safe. As the COVID rates in Boston and Massachusetts have gone down and more and more people are getting vaccinated, we would like to remind everyone that we are certainly not out of the woods yet. We are encouraging all of our members to continue to wear face coverings and follow CDC guidlines to curb the spread of the virus in our schools and communities.

With positivity rates currently at 3.8%, staffing and scheduling rules from our September agreement and Hybrid Learning agreement now apply. This means:
  • Any educator assigned a student in-person may be directed to report in-person, but educators without students assigned in-person have the option to continue to work remotely.
  • Schools or teams who have creative scheduling or flexible staffing plans which have been approved by the Reopening Task Force and the Superintendent should continue to operate under those plans as long as they continue to meet the needs of students given the new numbers as of March 1 and beyond.
  • If you believe you may qualify for an accommodation, and have not yet done so, please apply ASAP
  • If you are not granted an accommodation or you continue to have family health concerns or other reasons, you may take a leave.

We are continuing our efforts to #VaccinateEducators. 
If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to sign the petition urging the Governor and Secretary Sudders to approve the Last Mile Program and vaccinate educators, particularly those in-person now. When you’re done, please take two more minutes to “frame” our message by adding a frame to your profile photo on Facebook. (Added bonus: It will also appear as your Instagram profile picture.) Choose from the following frames:
Vaccinating Educators Is Good for Students
Vaccinating School Workers Is Good for Students
Vaccinate School Workers
Vaccinate Educators

We are also advocating that educators in Boston eligible in the current phases get access to appointments as well. As part of that effort, BPHC has shared the following in their efforts to increase vaccination access to communities of color: The City of Boston is currently making priority COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Bostonians of color available at the Reggie Lewis Center on Saturday, Feb. 27 and Sunday, Feb. 28. Boston residents of color that are currently eligible per the state guidance can sign up using this form. Please continue to visit the MA vaccinations website to find other appointments as well.  

We continue to closely monitor positive COVID cases in our schools and enforce the mitigation recommendations by the CDC and codified in our agreements.  For example, there was a cluster of COVID cases at the Murphy School before the break. The four classes impacted went all remote the next day and we have been working closely with the school administrators, reps, BPS Health Services and BPHC to address the issues there and improve safety. If any school is not strictly enforcing the protocols in place, we will take action. Please contact your Building Reps and Field Reps if you have concerns about proper mitigation compliance.  

At our last membership meeting, we endorsed Juan Jaramillo for State Representative in the 19th Suffolk open seat. Juan has been a tireless advocate for education justice and labor rights for many years, both working for legislators in the State House and as Political Coordinator for SEIU 32BJ. We want to make sure our support gets him over the finish line, so please sign up for our phone banks this week! His election is March 2, so we urgently need your support on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. Phone banks are available in English and Spanish.

Do we have your correct mailing address on file? It is important to us that we are able to reach all of our members by phone, mail or email. Please check here to make sure we have your correct information.

Congratulations to Jessica Descartes of Tech Boston Academy for receiving the Massachusetts Counselor of the Year Award from the Massachusetts School Counselors Association! To see Jessica formally accept the reward, skip to minute 43 of this video.

AFT-MA is working with a coalition on the Opt-Out of MCAS initative for this year and going forward. They are looking for volunteers to do some phone banking. If you would be interested, please email Sarah McLaughlin and Kerri Scott for more information.

Please see this document of important dates for Paras in regards to staffing for 2021-2022.

Note to teachers: Vacancies will likely be posted on Monday, March 1, so please check job postings on Monday if you are interested in applying for other BPS positions. Excess notices for teachers will be going out before the jobs are posted.

Finally, this week marks the last few days of Black History Month. Jeanne Foster, recently retired teacher at the Philbrick and the Mozart, was featured as a change-maker in the Boston Globe’s BHM segment A Beautiful Resistance. Make sure to check out some great resources from Share My Lesson to continue teaching Black history all year. There is also an event at the HGSE on “How to Teach Black History” to close out the month as well.  While Black History Month may technically be over at the end of February, we know that Black History is American History and should be taught year-round!

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