We have joined the AFT Massachusetts (our state affiliate) and MTA members across the state to say we will not return to unsafe school buildings until districts and the state can meet these necessary criteria to protect students:
Community transmission of COVID-19 is under control in the region;
There is a public health infrastructure to support effective disease testing, surveillance, tracing and isolation in schools;
All staff who are at high risk or live with someone who is high risk have access to remote work assignments, and that in-person teaching is a voluntary choice;
The district and school have funded safeguards and implemented protocols, including the below essential components:
6-foot physical distancing;
Face covering provided by schools to all students and staff, from pre-K up;
Adequate personal protective equipment provided to staff;
Access to hand-washing facilities with consistent 100ºF water and soap;
Resources and staffing to clean and sanitize facilities, including transportation;
Necessary updates to ventilation and building systems to ensure safe levels of airflow;
Adequate space for nurses to isolate potentially infected students;
All BTU members should be held harmless with respect to pay and sick time if diagnosed or asked to quarantined.
BTU members and leaders, families and community partners are included in the reopening planning process
We are calling on BPS to plan for a fully remote opening to begin the school year and a phased-in return to any in-person learning only when all safety protocols are in place and verified.
Thank you so much to our 70+ collective bargaining committee members who have been meeting for hours to develop this proposal. We would like to extend a special thank you to our staff and negotiating team members: Melanie Allen, Nicole Mullen, Cassandra Samuel, Lea Serena, and Jose Valenzuela.
Thank you to all of you for your activism — your voice matters, your actions matter! We will continue fighting for what is right.