We are glad to announce that many of the most important safeguards and protections that we have long advocated for have been adopted by the Boston Public Schools in the form of a new MOA this afternoon. Please read the full MOA here.
This MOA covers key details regarding the provision of in-person learning to high-needs students at the Carter School, Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, McKinley Schools, and Henderson Inclusion School.
First, we want to thank all of the BTU educators and our parent allies who stood with us as we advocated for important safety and quality-of-learning protections in this latest agreement with the Boston Public Schools. Thank you also to the Building Reps of all four schools who have been meeting with us daily over the last week and through the weekend – this agreement would not be possible without their hard work as well.
Through our collective advocacy and efforts, we have won some of the best protections and guarantees in Massachusetts and in the United States with regard to PPE, ventilation and filtration, COVID-19 testing, room temperature, and more. For example, we didn’t give up when we knew that it was not just enough to measure air quality. We insisted that there needed to be minimum standards and remediation if those standards weren’t met. This provision, amongst others, will help to better protect the health and safety of students, educators and the larger community.
Just as importantly, aspects of this agreement will help to curb so-called “simultaneous” learning practices, which as educators we know are not good for in-person learners or for remote learners.
While, as in all negotiations, we didn’t get everything we have been fighting for, we have added critical guard rails and a collaborative process to promote opt-in voluntarily first and then another step to problem solve before anyone is unilaterally instructed to report in person – with the goal that, if at all possible, no one will have to do so.
This joint process will also better protect the health of staff with preexisting medical conditions and potentially those also living with high risk family members.
From the outset, we have affirmed our belief in the importance of in-person instruction for high need students. We have simply sought guarantees and guidelines in writing that would make that instruction high-quality and safe.
Now, we have won many of those protections with the school system agreeing to virtually all of the most important forward-thinking, student-centered, and educator-driven solutions, we have been sharing – most of which we proposed back in the spring.
We will not stop advocating, but we are grateful that these long overdue commitments have been made.
Next, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the key role that Mayor Walsh played in helping us reach this MOA with the Boston Public Schools.The Mayor and his team demonstrated a strong commitment to the negotiating process and to the health and safety of all stakeholders. Through his involvement, we were able to establish an important framework for the benefit of students, educators, families, and our communities.
This agreement demonstrates once again that when we advocate together and unite our voices around clear, common sense proposals, we can and will prevail for the students, for the community, and for each other.
Now more than ever, in the midst of a pandemic that has been grossly mishandled by the White House, we must continue to speak out for and mobilize for what is right, what is safe, and what is justice. Our work is not done, but this is a major step forward, particularly for the staff and students at the four schools resuming in person learning tomorrow.
We feel those principles are reflected in this MOA which we encourage you to read in full detail here.
You can also read the joint press release issued with the City, BTU, and BPS here.
We also took the time to debunk some false information reported by a Boston Globe editorial writer who sought to mischaracterize our union and our proposals without checking the facts. We feel the proposals speak for themselves as being in the interest of students, educators and the community. You can read our fact-checking of some recent statements written by the Globe here, as well.
Thank you to everyone for your advocacy and the work you do every day. We are in this together.