Today is Inauguration Day! It is hard to believe that we are finally here, and we are pleased to welcome the Biden-Harris administration. There is a lot of work to be done to heal our country and repair the harm done, but we are confident that this administration is up to the challenge. You can find some great resources on incorporating the foundations of democracy into your lesson plans in advance of the Inauguration here.
For clarification on the Feb. 1 tentative reopening: As of last night, the BPHC has not approved the Feb. 1 start for ALL HIPP students yet. However, if you teach HIPP students whose families have chosen in-person schooling and the plan is approved, then you must report on February 1 if the district directs you to do so, unless you have been granted an accommodation for remote work from the Office of Equity, are on a Leave of Absence, or your school has a plan with volunteers only or a plan approved by the reopening task force which allows for creative scheduling and staffing and permitting some staff to be remote.
To be clear, there has never been a written agreement between the union and city that COVID positivity rates will be below 5% before the reopening occurs, though BPS, BPHC and the Mayor have previously stated publicly that the rates need to be trending in that direction for two weeks before all HIPP hybrid students return. BPHC has shared that they are continuing to moniter the metrics and spread of COVID in the community before they approve an expanded reopening, even for February 1.However, at this time, February 1 remains the tentative date for a full HIPP hybrid return. If rates and metrics increase instead of decrease, this may be revisited, but as of today, there has been no update. For schools that are already in-person, please remember that you can report specific concerns by using this form or by contacting your Field Rep directly.
DESE released this memo about pooled testing last Friday. All documents related to pooled testing, including a recording of the webinar, can be found on the new pooled testing section of the DESE website. Our statewide affiliate, AFT-MA, has been regularly updating their website with COVID-related resources and other important materials as we continue to advocate state-wide not just for vaccinations for educators, but increased testing in schools as well.
What should the BTU ask candidates for Mayor and City Council? What are your political priorities for the 2021 municipal election cycle? We want to hear from you! Please take 5 minutes to fill out the BTU Political Priorities Survey. This year we will have many important municipal and state-wide elections. Hearing from you is very important to our endorsement process!
As many of you are aware, we tragically lost Jinny Chalmers, retired principal of Young Achievers, partner to BTU organizer Ilene Carter and a beloved member of the BPS community, in November. In honor of her legacy and her birthday today, Jinny’s family and friends have established the Jinny Chalmers Fund for Education Justice in her honor, furthering her work in the pursuit of justice for children and families within the education system. Please visit the Fund’s website for more information about Jinny, to learn more about the fund and to make a donation.
Finally, we hope you all were able to take some time on Monday to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank you to all who attended the St. Stephens March4Educadtion as well as our Racial Justice Town Hall and contributed to the conversations we are having surrounding racial justice and equity. As we turn the page to a new administration, it is vital that we do not take our focus off of the work we need to do as a society to combat the centuries of injustice the United States has perpetuated. Please see ShareMyLesson for resources on confronting race and racism in the classroom.