Te first thing President Mulgrew mentioned was that the UFT is going to use its disaster relief fund to help members in need. There will be something up on the website tomorrow for people in need to submit for assistance.
Then he had three major categories of items to share:
- Building response teams will be relied on again, much like last year. The UFT trained 1100 BRT leaders from their buildings with more trainings available for other schools.
- 3 feet of social distancing this year, not 6. Some overcrowded schools are being dealt by making plans with UFT people - could be longer school day to spread out or extra rental space or something. This is still being worked on.
- The City is essentially following the CDC guidance.
- Cafeterias - 3 foot distancing as well. Based on evaluations of schools, there should be a breeze in cafeterias to maximize air exchanges from the ventilation system. If not, let them know.
- The UFT trained 100 people with commercial grade CO2 monitors to check out air exchanges. If there is an issue, call UFT and they will get it checked.
- Testing: no testing for teachers as of September 27. If adults are in the building want to be testing, the test/trace team said they can be tested. Every other week, schools will have 10% of their student population tested (who consent). We know 60% of MS/HS are vaccinated. Mulgrew said for elementary kids he wants weekly testing. MS/HS he said every other week is okay.
- If there is a positive case in the class with kids under 12, class goes under quarantine. Teacher works from home unless the principal asks to come in for a reason outside of just remote teaching from a room.
- If there is a positive case in class with vaccinated kids, vaccinated kids with no symptoms can keep going to school. They'll get a test 3-5 days after the case is found. Anyone showing symptoms must do 10-day quarantine (Vaccinated or unvaccinated). Unvaccinated kids who are not showing symptoms need to quarantine but can get a test 3 days in and if negative they can return.
Instructional plan (digital work agreement)
- We will be doing an academic and social-emotional diagnostic.
- Starting on Sept 27, K-10 will have a literacy and numeracy done for every student in NYC.
- K-2 diagnostics are on paper (20 min), the rest electronically. Takes approximately an hour to complete. AIS team will coordinate. We decide as a school on how to get it done.
- Social-emotional: give time for acclimation back to being in a building before doing anything kind of diagnostic. Not going to be until November. In the meantime, every school will have access to social workers. The assessment will be 5 minutes where the adult closest to the child answer questions about the kid and the student is not present.
- Agreement sent last night. Having a digital classroom and teaching remotely is not part of the terms and conditions of our employment. That will be a major piece in the next contract. For now, we didn't want a precedent to be set. Anyone who will be supplying remote services will get 4 hours of per session (no time sheets, though) for setting up the platform. Must load the first day remote instruction (asynchronous) as part of the four hours. If there are kids who are quarantined at home, make yourself available for 1 hour for help. The other hour you upload new work for students to do. 2 hours per class that is partially quarantined. So if you teach multiple classes, you'd get 2 hours per class. Remote instruction agreement link.
Vaccine order from Department of Health
- Mulgrew talked a lot about caring for each other as members. This is likely because of the controversy surrounding vaccinations.
- He said when they went into negotiations with the city about how to deal with this, the official position of city is if a person has a religious exemption or medical exemption or medical accommodation, then people should use CAR and then be removed from payroll
- UFT filed for impasse to to go to mediation. And he is also going to challenge this in court.
- How is the union prepared to deal with the possibility of staff deaths? Mulgrew talked about vaccinations as the best way to avoid it. Didn't really answer the question directly.
- If you have already gotten covid and had antibodies, why being forced to get vaccine? She said the vaccine doesn't do better with antibodies than the disease (even if some studies show this is true, it is not a good idea). Mulgrew said the DOH can mandate it. Hope MLC can vote to challenge the mandate without better bargaining.
- Are schools responsible for providing PPE? Yes. Every classroom will have air filters. All same safeties are still in place. If someone gets sick while at school they will be quarantined without coming from CAR.
- Why are we mandated to get vaccine when new state governor hasn't done it for all employees? NYC Department of Health has more authority to mandate vaccines than the state department of health does. State are only ones that can mandate vaccines for kids.
- What happens if parents refused to sign the consent form for testing of their children? What happens to students who refuse to wear masks in school? Because there is no remote option city can't stop students from going to school for not wearing a mask. Mayor said zero tolerance as it relates to mask wearing issues. Mulgrew thinks there should be some kind of remote suspension (but this is not insubordination for it to go slowly). Sounds like parents are concerned about not enough testing just like UFT is.
- What about isolation rooms in schools? Still there, but with different name.
- If you already have plans when you are supposed to do the digital learning stuff for quarantined students, what do you do? Mulgrew said the idea was to be vague about it so that staff can do it when they can, without proscribing when.
- Why aren't all students mandated to test? City does not have legal authority to do it.
- Parents don't want to send kids to a school building but there is no remote option. What do they do? Same thing with medically fragile staff. Mulgrew said maybe those kids would stay home for home instruction, but then a staff member would have to go to each of their houses. The medically fragile staff is the reason why UFT is going to test the mandate in a court.
- What are the requirements for digital classroom stuff? Set up your classroom and get the 4 hours of per session money. If your class goes remote, then follow what was said before.
- If students have to remain 3 feet apart, do teachers have to stay 6 feet apart? Still fighting about this one. What about spring break pay? On July 1 UFT filed for arbitration. Still being scheduled.
- With a school that has junky ventilation and small rooms, what are we going to do? Now that there is a new governor (he said she is very competent and bright) he thinks we will get a better result by bringing someone from the department of health.