Last Friday, the CDC released their guidelines for school reopenings. For the first time since the pandemic began nearly a year ago, we finally have clear, actionable safety measures from the federal government to keep both students and teachers safe. It will also be important for Congress to ensure districts have the funding they need to implement and sustain the guidance.
We are still reviewing all of the guidance to better understand how it may impact us. However, from what we understand now, it is consistent with with what we have advocated for since the the pandemic started. In fact, our agreements, particularly around air quality, go above and beyond the recommendations. Our agreement is also cited by the DOE as an example for PPE language. You can read our full statement on the guidelines here,
as well as the AFT statement.
Last Mile Vaccine Delivery Program
We have joined fellow labor unions representing educators and school staff, firefighters, nurses and library workers across the state to propose a plan that would facilitate the rapid, efficient and local vaccination of school employees, starting with a pilot program in up to 20 communities with some of the highest transmission rates.
The turnkey program proposed by the unions is designed to quickly scale up across the Commonwealth as soon the pilot program is complete. Called the Last Mile Vaccine Delivery Program, the plan is now before the state Department of Public Health. We have had two meetings with Secretary Sudders and Commissioner Riley and will continue to meet with them regularly to advocate for the efficient, expedient and timely vaccinations of educators and school staff – particularly for those who are already back in-person and working in communities with high COVID rates.
Please sign the petition and join us in urging Governor Charlie Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel to take immediate action to make our schools safer for students, families and communities, along with Massachusetts school staff!
Under the plan:
- Local firefighters and EMTs would administer the vaccine in school buildings across the state and a private medical distribution company would handle all of the logistics.
- Vaccinations for educators and other school employees would begin in February and would be scaled up beyond the pilot communities as more vaccine doses become available.
- Educators would not be moved ahead of any other groups but could be vaccinated at the same time as others in Phase 2.
Reopening Safety Surveys
Building Reps: Please remember to fill out the reopening checklist as soon as possible if you haven’t yet done so. If there are ANY issues that have not yet been resolved at the school site, please let us know immediately so that we can help to address the issue.
What should the BTU ask candidates for Mayor and City Council? Last chance to fill out the BTU Political Priorities Survey if you haven’t already done so! This year we will have many important municipal and state-wide elections. Hearing from you is very important to our endorsement process!
Don’t forget to register for the BTU Winter Conference! Saturday, Feb. 27
Register today for the conference, Our Future for Public Education, and check out the agenda for the day.
We hope you enjoy the rest of your break and stay safe and warm from the snow!
BTU Officers & Staff