Monday, June 29, 2020

UFT Executive Board June 29, 2020 What in the World Are We Gonna Do in September?

Roll Call 5:50

UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr--Minutes have passed via email.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--We will be talking during the summer. We are at the end of the city budget. DOE has been cutting central and outside contracts, to some degree, but this is phase one. If we don't have fed package, state will do more cuts. City may have to borrow money, but if everything stays the same, we can do bare bones in September. Can we open safely? Probably not.

City may have to borrow, but hoping not. We don't know where we will be next year, but virus is still raging out of control around the country. Last week we had good week of planning with DOE and CFA on safety. Will we open? No idea, but odds are not good. We need fed funding and virus under control. We need both. Very tough.

We finally got medical accommodation process, but criteria is changing. We try to track it based on facts, talking to doctors rather than pollsters. Of course changes contribute to fear and anxiety. Age group affected dropping dramatically. Won't be able to make call until it's very close. Governor has grave concerns. How can we keep NY safe? No answer as of yet.

People need to do basics, stay away from one another and wear masks. We want people to get info out, and do more planning about staying remote. We will look at both ways. Exec. Board needs to understand as we move forward.

Some groups are upset at us. We want to cut central. We don't want layoffs of people who work with children. Budgets are not good. We want central and outside contracts cut before we look at cuts to school. DOE moving in that direction now, and hopefully programs that help children will be taken off chopping block.

As soon a budget is done we will send synopsis to Exec. Board. Our teams did Town Halls with every series of electeds. Seems we're headed more toward funding things that help kids.

Cassie Pruett--We were aligned with Chairman Treygor and protected dollars that affected members and students. We will stay close with updates.

Mulgrew--We're staying with that. Cuts need to be from central and contracts. Money needs to go into social workers, PLC programs, and all the things we will need. We will defend schools.

As for reopening, I thank those who've done walkthroughs. Almost 1200 completed. 40% are three cohorts. Some outliers with five. DOE doesn't visit schools. We do and we know them the best. No schools are actually ready, though some principals programmed schools without speaking to anyone.

Allocation for planning committee to work over the summer is now out.

CT said every kid was coming back, they would rent space and hire thousands of teachers. We don't think that will work and we haven't got the budget. We are explaining to people how things really work, and we're looking at a childcare plan for the city of NY. People understand why we need this, and it's not DOE, There is Dept. of Youth and Development for this.

Chancellor will talk to principals on Thursday. There's a team looking at windowless rooms, adding air exchange systems. We're looking at how many custodians we need. With no decisions, we need to see how remote learning will work, and what support systems we will need.

At least we are working together with DOE and CSA at this point.

As HEROES act moves along, you see changes. GOP Senator Lamar Alexandar now saying political games must stop.

Anthony Harmon--Campaign with AFT tried to embarrass US Senators for going on vacation. Pressure mounting. Looking at Day of Action July 8th. Have had some success with Senators doing the right thing. Thanks Tom Murphy and retirees did Zoom call of 2,000. They will work on this.

Mulgrew--This week, thankfully, no one passed from Covid. Very concerned about retirees in Florida. Prayers are with the.


Q--DOE putting contracts to hire retirees for outside companies.

A--Have not heard of this. M. Sill will check.

Q--Reopening--admin says shouldn't happen till August. True?

A-- We don't have official re-opening committee. CL and safety should be part of planning. Allocation out this week. Should happen sooner rather than later. Should be real conversation.

Q-Like many schools, we have a proprietary email address, free from gmail. The DOE is now saying they want us to use their awkward and unreliable system instead. We worked very hard to get all of our students signed into our system, which we like, and we don't want to start from square one. Can we work to negotiate something with the DOE so that our own addresses can be integrated into DOE Zoom and whatever else they plan to offer?

A--Exactly what we are trying to do. Have been asking for four weeks. We don't want to give people more work. Have been told it would move over, but we need a definitive answer.

Q--Med. Conditions--Focusing on this tomorrow. Will have to go by CDC and what they say. If you are caring for loved one with conditions it's problematic, because accommodations are only for working people. I change in my backyard when I come home, as do a lot of people. We will get done whatever we can. We are trying to work on these issues, but this is a very tough road, especially with so many teachers, 8-10K with med. accommodations.

Q--Is DOE trying to max number of students in school? A--they tried, but we've pushed back, as has CSA. This is why we did walkthroughs. Yes, DOE thought we could get 100% of kids back in. We now know, and so do they, that it won't work.

If we go remote, we are discussing allowing students to go to school buildings to use tech.

Latest day to return, if we do, in September.

We are getting through budget. When we do, we don't expect layoffos.Fed package will make things much easier.

Buyout--has been discussed at all levels.

Many students won't come back. If hybrid happens will be very small classes.

683 updates--Live two hours a day? Not good for students.

Two hours is time for number of different synchronous activities. Not student time to do that in addition to all services.

Teacher had only one informal this year with tenure delayed last--Send name to M. Sill.

CDC--accommodations--Who will authorize? Members live far away, how can they care for their children?  A--We need to set up child care. We will not be able to accommodate everyone. We will focus on safety, livelihood and profession.

We are asking for extension of Open Market. We will keep you posted.

Do we need to wear masks if we teach? Yes. You will need to get used to it if in building. Hoping for better masks. Nurses had complained about it and now we understand what it means.

Will students stay masked? Big piece of our planning. We will have to deal with that.

What if principal denies walkthrough? Tell DR.

Cleanliness--How do we know school will be fully sanitized? There will be inspections.

We will look at negotiating evaluation after we go back.

We had some calls about medical accommodations, wants to thank Welfare Fund for making sure calls were answered. Did interviews with graduating seniors. We were front and center in the middle of this, from shutdown, to remote, to silly demands from DOE. Students were very thankful to teachers and all who supported them. Patients are thankful to nurses. Graduation seniors are a big deal to HS teachers. These students were grateful to teachers, counselors, secretaries, all who helped.

Spoke of how teachers, despite caring for their own children, kept checking on them. March 15th we closed our system. One more day left for some members. We kept our system running, got through state budget, trying to get through city budget with mayor screaming about 22K layoffs.

We have challenges to come. Bad reports from multiple states, and still some planning to open in August. Virus is out of control. We started in anxiety. This was a real danger and still is. We're not going back if it's not safe. That's it. We will follow what professionals say. If virus is not under control, this is all moot. I'm not optimistic but we still have to prepare.

We understand people have had real losses. We will move forward. Thank you for leadership, thank you for questions. We know you have best interests at heart. Thank you for helping us through this. We will be smart, do what needs to be done, stay safe, and protect livelihoods.

We will meet through the summer. Happy 4th of July. If you're outside at a party, put your mask on.

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