Vaccine Updates, National Black Lives Matter at School Week, and more
Published On: January 26, 2021
It has been almost a week since Inauguration Day, and we were moved by the several “firsts” that occurred at the special event, including the swearing-in of Kamala Harris, a Black, South Asian-American woman to the office of the Vice President of the United States. The students at Boston Latin School made sure to commemorate this joyous event with a moving tribute video, set to the song “Bigger” by Beyoncé.
You may have seen Governor Baker’s statement yesterday morning on the shifting of priorities in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine. We are still gathering all of the details on what this shift means for educators, but it is concerning considering that, as of yesterday, BPHC has approved of plans to reopen for HIPP students at all schools on February 1. What we do know is that BTU members who are school nurses, OT’s, SLP’s, PT’s and behavioral health staff are all currently elible for phase 1 and can sign up today. We are advocating for ABA’s and educators in person to be included in this phase as well and have requested information confirming that all mitigation conditions outlined in the most recent MOA are in place.
BPHC has informed us that they expect other K-12 staff to become eligible for the vaccine some time mid-February as part of Phase 2, although we continue to advocate that all in-person staff be eligible for vaccinations immediately. BPHC has shared they will be ready to vaccinate educators the same day they become eligible, but the exact date will depend on accessibility of vaccines from the state and federal government. We have offered the BTU building as a vaccination site, and will be meeting with BPHC and BPS to give feedback on their plan.
We will let you all know more information about vaccinations as soon as it becomes available to us. A group of parents are circulating a petition to ask Gov. Baker to priotize teachers in the COVID vaccine priority list. We will continue to advocate that all eduators and essential workers who do not have a choice to work remotely or stay home should be prioritized while continuing to enforce the safety conditions in our MOA’s. Reminder: There is a meeting for reps at all schools this Thursday, from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Please see the special Building Rep Bulletin.
AFT just announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will be joining teachers across the country for another fireside chat to discuss COVID-19, vaccines, and schools. The discussion will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28. AFT members are invited to submit questions for Dr. Fauci. AFT President Randi Weingarten also co-wrote this must-read op-ed for USA Today on reopening schools.
In an effort to provide additional staffing support for schools reopening in February, in-person per diem substitute assignments will be available in Substitute Central within the next week. If you have questions about the details of the assignment, reach out to the school. The same holds true for returning students for March school openings. Paras and other staff should not be used to regularly cover as substitutes for others. Please notify Colleen Hart if this is happening at your school.
What should the BTU ask candidates for Mayor and City Council? What are your political priorities for the 2021 municipal election cycle? We want to hear from you! Please take 5 minutes to fill out the BTU Political Priorities Survey. This year we will have many important municipal and state-wide elections. Hearing from you is very important to our endorsement process!
The National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action begins in just one week and will take place from February 1 – 5. BTU members at schools across Boston are organizing school-based actions and events to participate in. You can also mark you calendar for the following BTU-wide events:
Monday, Feb. 1 at 4:30 p.m. Connect and Share Kick-Off: “Yes We CAN Talk About Race.” Learn more and register here.
Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 4:30 p.m. Testimony Prep Night: Learn about the BLM at School demands and how to turn your story into testimony for school committee or other governing body. BPS students are welcome and encouraged to attend! Register here.
Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 5:00 p.m. Tune into watch people testify about the week of action demands at the Boston School Committee meeting or sign up to testify yourself. More info here.
Thursday, Feb. 4 at 5:00 p.m. Ethnic Studies Now Committee open meeting. Registration link coming soon.
Friday, Feb 5 at 4:30 p.m. Year of Purpose Showcase! Join us to celebrate the 2021 BLM Week of Action. Register here.
All this information and more can be found at btu.org/blm.