We know that many educators and families are concerned as Covid rates in Boston continue to rise. Safety, Equity and Transparency continue to be our goals as we negotiate the impacts of the April 26 transition. We would like to clarify a few points:
1) Although we did propose that educators who needed additional time to set up their classrooms (as well as get help with moving and storage so that they are able to fit students 3 feet apart) per the new DESE mandate and guidance receive this accommodation, despite what some administrators have stated, we did NOT agree that everyone must be in-person on 4/14. We agree the extra time should be used for set-up and instructional preparation but we do not yet have an agreement in writing. If your principal has directed all staff in – even if your room is already set up, even if you have no in person students that day, etc. – please let your Field Rep know.
2) Until April 26, Wednesdays are still remote, including tomorrow. Again, if your school has directed everyone in, please have your Building Rep contact your Field Rep so that we can address the issue.
3) The five days in-person mandate begins on April 26 for grades K-8. There is currently no date set for high schools, which will remain hybrid until that date is determined by BPS and/or DESE.
4) We are aware of safety concerns with increased numbers of students in crowded schools and classrooms as April 26 approaches, and we are continuing to bargain over the impacts of returning 5 days per week. We are advocating for enhanced safety measures, adequate staffing, better notification and contact tracing procedures, safe outdoor spaces for lunch, additional materials, preparation time, and many other proposals prioritized by the Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC) and Negotiation Team. If you would like to join our CBC, please see the BTU events for more information on how to apply.
Unfortunately, we have yet to conclude these negotiations. BPS was supposed to share dates to continue to work towards an agreement, but have not given us any dates for this week. We are running out of time to adequately prepare and are very concerned with the lack of answers to our many valid questions as the deadline quickly approaches and educators continue to plan. We hope that BPS will prioritize meeting with us this week and demonstrate their commitment to working with BTU educators to keep our families and communities safe as rates continue to rise.
We have been getting many questions regarding contact tracing. Please see this Health Services COVID-19 Case Management Flow Sheet table outlining the step-by-step actions for contact tracing. The BPS website has also been updated with a diagram of the contact tracing protocols.
On Monday, March 29, BTU filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission challenging BPS’s treatment of its disabled employees (and we have also filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge for the district’s failure to provide the BTU with information about the issue). Although it is possible that mistreatment of our members by BPS has been exacerbated by COVID, the Union expects that an investigation by the Federal Government will reveal longstanding irregular and deficient practices by BPS when it comes to providing its employees reasonable accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act and M.G.L. c. 151B. If you or anyone you know has information that can support the Union in this dispute, please contact Erik Berg.
Our next membership meeting will be next Wednesday, April 14 at 4:30 p.m. We will be discussing many of the issues above as well as the latest updates regarding the April 26 return for grades K-8. As usual, please register in advance. Quick reminders for registering:
- Please remember that you must register at least one hour in advance, or you will not receive a link.
- Each link is unique and cannot be shared
- Links are sent after your registration and membership status are verified – please do not register multiple times if you do not immediately receive a link.
- Remember to include your exact BPS ID# in order to expedite approvals. If you are retired or don’t have an ID# for another reason, please enter “000000″.
- Please make sure that you have updated your Zoom account with the latest update before the meeting in order to avoid complications with your link.
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