We are continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 infection rates in our schools. In case you missed it late last week, please see our latest Special Bulletin with important information and action steps regarding the Omicron surge and holding the state accountable. Additionally, the Superintendent sent an important update this weekend concerning masks, testing, air quality and more.
The previous update from the Boston Public Health Commission shortened the quarantine period following a positive test based on a fully vaccinated employee testing negative on an antigen test on their 5th day. If antigen testing at day 5 remains positive, it is recommended they continue isolation until a rapid test returns a negative result or until day 10, provided the employee is asymptomatic. This aligns with the latest CDC guidance. Note that PCR testing may remain positive for longer even if individuals are not infectious which is why PCR testing is not a part of these recommendations.
Regarding the January 15 deadline for the vaccination mandate: The BTU is continuing to negotiate with BPS over the impacts of this policy and working closely with legal counsel to evaluate our strategy in these negotiations and elsewhere. We will continue to provide more information to the membership in the coming days. If an employee has been advised by a medical professional to delay receipt of the vaccine due to a recent COVID infection, they should seek a reasonable accommodation from the BPS Office of Equity by submitting their supporting medical documentation and/or completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we mentioned in the last Special Bulletin, the MTA, AFT-MA and BTU are working with our legislators to call for an investigation into the Baker administration’s handling of the KN95 mask debacle. We have received work that Governor Baker will attend the COVID Oversight Committee’s meeting to answer questions about the Omicron response this week. Thank you to all who sent letters, made calls, and took action.
Our next membership meeting is TOMORROW, Wednesday, January 12 at 4:30 p.m. It will be virtual on Zoom. As always, registration in advance is needed to verify BTU membership and to receive the link. You can access the agenda here. The main agenda items concern all of the steps we are taking in response to the Omicron surge.
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.
Note to Building Reps:Please look out for a follow-up email later today. We are asking follow-up questions to better pinpoint which schools are falling short on which mitigations efforts and need more specifics to get the right resources and supports to the right places.
Congratulations to our newly certified and renewed National Board Certified teachers!
Seven BTU members recently achieved National Board Certification by completing a rigorous cycle of learning, reflection, and leadership. Congratulations to these outstanding educators and the eight BTU members who renewed their certification this year, listed here. If you achieved or recertified this year and are not listed, please email Paul to let us know. If you are interested in participating in our BTU/BPS National Board support programs, please see our website.
Bargaining Update: Our silent representatives have been posting updates after each bargaining session. You can check out the latest updates from the January 6 session! We will need all of us to be sure our demands are taken seriously by management. Make sure to read the full summary, and if you are interested in being a silent rep and joining the next session, apply here!
Lastly, please be aware of an action led by students this Friday in Boston and elsewhere. We share many of the concerns that both parents and students are sharing in regards to the safety of our schools. Students also started a petition last week calling for remote learning. We are calling on DESE to allow for remote learning to count as a school day when it is clear a school in need of pivoting to such an option.We know that this continues to be a very difficult time for educators, students and families. Please know that we continue to be in active conversations with both the Superintendent and the Mayor to advocate for clear communication to staff, transparency of decision-making, enforcement of mitigation protocols and effective plans that will provide the safe teaching and learning environment that everyone needs and deserves.