We hope you all had a good start to your week and are able to take a moment to relax and unplug from the heavy news cycle for a bit. We’ve had a busy week, and as always,we’re committed to keeping you informed about the latest developments locally and nationally.
Just as a reminder, we have been sharing special bulletins over the last few weeks that detail the latest developments from the district and the state. If you need to revisit them, the Special Bulletins are available on the BTU website. Here is a short review of some of the highlights and updates:
- We recognize that many members have ongoing concerns about the student and educator privacy implications of using conference tools such as Zoom to support student learning, and in the provision of special education and counseling services. According to Zoom for Education, it does enable both FERPA and HIPAA compliance when used appropriately. BPS encourages staff to attend training by visiting the Coronavirus page that hosts resources for students & teachers.
- In light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the BTU agreed that for this year only,letters of reasonable assurance to provisional teachers could be issued via email rather than US Mail; the email will include a link to a google form to acknowledge receipt. Those letters should go out very soon.
- Beginning Monday, April 6, 2020, BPS employees reporting to work at a physical location must wear a “face covering.” The City encourages employees with reusable cloth face coverings to bring their own to work. For employees who do not own a reusable cloth face covering and are still physically reporting to work, BPS will provide surgical masks in the interim.
- The federal government recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), establishing emergency paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”). The City anticipates providing an update in the coming days as well as some further temporary modifications to our Attendance Policy and travel protocols. Any benefits under this Act will be retroactive to April 1, 2020.
- Beginning Tuesday, April 7, 2020, employees accessing BPS buildings will be required to undergo a self-monitoring assessment in order to prevent those with COVID-19 symptoms from accessing the building. These requirements do not apply to employees working remotely and without access to BPS buildings.
- Scheduled holidays, including Good Friday this week, and April Vacation in two weeks are still on.
- Note to classroom teachers from Related Service Providers: Please remember to add the OT’s, PT’s SLP’s and other service providers to your classroom platforms (Google classrooms, SeeSaw, Dojo, etc.)
- While the BTU office is closed, we are still receiving and checking mail for the office as well as Health and Welfare office. Health and Welfare benefits are also still available during this time.
- While we are still developing an MOU with more specifics, we know that many schools continue to experience ongoing changes in expectations. We suggest looking to the DESE guidance for guidelines and guardrails in the interim. The MTA has provided a valuable explanation of the guidance which explains much of the thinking behind it.
- We have added many new COVID-related resources to our Member Resources page, including resources to support students and families, including those who are facing housing instability, unemployment, or food insecurity.
Please continue to submit your questions or concerns on our Google Form.
We will continue to provide you with details and updates and for now will continue to send special bulletins at least once a week in addition to the Tuesday bulletin.
Thank you again to the 1000+ members who have already signed up to be a part of the BTU Volunteer Corps that will continue to provide assistance to our communities in the days and weeks ahead. Your volunteerism has played a critical role during this crisis.
We’re urging our BTU community to fill out the Census as soon as possible! It is critically important, especially now, that we are all counted in order for our communities to receive necessary resources. Make sure to fill out the 2020 Census here and please remind your family, friends and networks to do the same! The Census has significant implications on public education and funding.
Lastly, we want to reiterate just how grateful we are to all of you for your resilience during this time. We know how hard you are working on a daily basis to provide the best education possible to our students in this difficult situation, and we extend our deepest thanks to this incredible community.
We continue to be #InThisTogether.
Be safe and be well this week!