Published On: March 9, 2021
We hope you all are having a nice week as the temperature outside begins to rise – a welcome sign of warmer days to come. As the COVID rates in Boston and Massachusetts have gone down and more and more people are getting vaccinated, we would like to remind everyone that we are certainly not out of the woods yet. We are encouraging all of our members to continue to wear face coverings and follow CDC guidlines to curb the spread of the virus in both our schools and communities, even if you have already been vaccinated.

Following all safety protocols is critical to mitigating in-school transmission as more students and staff return to our schools. We have shared many resources on making vaccination appointments for educators, so please be sure to read our bulletin archives. We will share more resources as they are made available and are continuing to advocate with the state for access to more vaccinations and have another meeting with Secretary Sudders and Commissoner Riley this week.

It’s time for us to negotiate a new contract again! Last week, you should have received an email in your personal email last week with a link to our negotiations survey.  If you have not already done so, please take 5-10 minutes right now to complete that important negotiations survey and share your ideas about what should be our priorities at the bargaining table! You can also find a link in the member portal or email a BTU staff member to get a new link. Please remember, each link that was emailed is unique and should not be shared or forwarded.  

Our next membership meeting is TOMORROW, March 10 at 4:30 p.m. 
As usual, please register in advanceWe cannot guarantee admittance if you do not register before 3:30pm. Please see the tentative agenda. 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.
IMPORTANT: The BTU Election nomination deadline is approaching. All nominations must be received by 6 p.m. tomorrow, March 10. Please see updates in the BTU Events & Announcements section below.

Many of you will have received the notification from the city regarding non-medicare health insurance plans for the year that starts July 1, 2021.
You can read about the main changes on our website.

Do we have your correct mailing address on file? It is important to us that we are able to reach all of our members by phone, mail or email. Please check here to make sure we have your correct information.

AFT-MA is working with a coalition on the Opt-Out of MCAS initative for this year and going forward. They are looking for volunteers to do some phone banking. If you would be interested, please email Sarah McLaughlin and Kerri Scott for more information. Please also contact your state representative and urge the Massachusetts Legislature to pass Amendment #460 to the state budget, which would cancel the MCAS exam for the 2020-21 school year in all grades and subjects, pending a federal waiver. The amendment would also waive the requirement that current high school seniors must have passed the MCAS in order to graduate. Take action now! 

As we shared on Friday, while we were disappointed by the BESE vote on Friday, we will continue to advocate for a safe, thoughtful and science-based approach to reopening that includes CDC guidance. As we shared in our press statement, “While many families have chosen to bring their students back to in-person classrooms, many BPS families have also chosen to stay remote. A large percentage of these families are Black, Latinx and Asian – all groups that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and historically underserved by the state, particularly in regards to funding. If that is what those families are choosing, their students also deserve energy, time and resources focused on ensuring those students have access to the highest quality remote learning possible. It is a racial equity issue that DESE must also address and not forget.”  

Lastly, we stand in solidarity with many groups this week: the nurses on strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, the school bus drivers at their rally later this morning, and all of the former and current students in the Boston Student Advisory Council, both those who have resigned and those who have chosen to remain. We have reached out to leaders of BSAC, including former School Committee representative Khymani James to express support and let them know we are here for them as they work through their next steps and identify their needs moving forward.  

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