Thursday, July 09, 2020

UFT Executive Board July 9, 2020--Riding a Hybrid Safely

 Roll Call 2:50

UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us.


UFT President Michael Mulgrew--You all saw mayor's "blended plan." In April, after multiple models, there were two options to open safely. Either we triple classrooms and teachers, or have one third of students present. We are okay with the model as the way to go. The type of schedule is problematic. We would like to limit the number of models to those most schools could use, but offer flexibility.

Doing something else, though, does not mean you ignore safety rules. That comes first. Next phase is safety and developing protocols. We will enforce masks, not just talk to children about it. Everyone in school will have to wear a mask.

Medical accommodation process will be going out on July 15, along with ability for parents to opt their children out of live instruction. We believe 20-25% will opt out, if we stay on current trajectory of virus. We expect results by August 7th. We are not sitting around and waiting. Almost 1300 schools did walkthrough. We are engaged in this.

Blended plan yesterday is step one. We're looking at health and safety, and working conditions. We will need a temporary agreement for these conditions. We will have remote and live teachers, and some who do both. All of these things have to be negotiated. There are many outstanding safety issues, including physical proof that shields, masks, cleaners and protocols are in place, with personnel to make sure it's done.

This can't be like March. We will have to walk to each school and make sure this is all in place. Talking to infectious disease doctors, will talk to DOE and CSA about testing regimen. We will recommend that everyone, especially living in NYC, get an antibody test. Will be very important if you come into contact with virus. Thinking about a program to offer this to UFT members. Talking with hospitals and health care providers about this.

You should keep these results.

We will discuss process for children who won't wear masks. In our rec centers, kids wore masks. Different challenge for special ed. students. What kind of PPE will various positions need? We have to work this out by August 7th.

We are on the attack against mayor about child care issue. If children aren't in school every day, what will parents do? We had a parent town hall last week, and hopefully by next week we will be demanding a program.

APPR--This year no one is getting a rating. We need to make sure there is no harm. We don't want it to hurt anyone's tenure, and we don't want first or second year teachers to have it held against them.

Investigations--trying to get those started, want to get rid of false allegations. We are negotiating with DOE, who doesn't get back to us.

What will APPR look like for remote and hybrid teachers next year? How does this and PPE fit in with Danielson?

Leaves--What's a medical accommodation vs. a family leave? We are trying to clarify for people.

We are working on these things right now. As I told you, fear and the virus are our twin challenges. We're moving ahead, and despite all protests, there's been no bump in NYC. We are more disciplined than people in other parts of the country.

Some people think there will be another bump here, as we see them everywhere. We are concurrently planning remote instruction. Assuming state will come out and say something in August, but it may not be definitive. If virus bites we know what will happen. We've learned a lot and will need more of a framework.

Summer school has been a fiasco, and that's tied to their new platform. Chancellor was clear there is no mandate for any school to move into new platform. People have to be comfortable and ready. Anyone teaching summer school can tell you about all the problems they've been having.

Mike Sill--What will remote instruction look like this year? It will have to be different. We will have to have more of a schedule so as to preclude conflict. There are issues with ratings, people with TIPs or people frozen at salary steps. What will PD look like? Will it be remote? Probably. What about SBO? Parent teacher conferences? Each decision ripples throughout the contract. Focus groups have been helpful. Best info comes from membership.

Mulgrew--These are new situations, and we'll have to have a temporary agreement along with a process to figure out things that aren't covered. On health and safety we have a team working.

Elly Engler--We have a team working with UFT and DOE and we have a team with parameters for HVAC system. Working with HVA to make sure they're operational. Without good ventilation rooms will not be used. We need operational windows, which can dilute ability of virus. Electrostatic cleaning will be done, will be machines. If they're using this it means dust won't be cleaned, but virus will be destroyed. Will not look as pristine as proper deep cleaning. There will be a list of things available to all schools, PPE and cleaning supplies. If all guidelines are followed we will be okay.

Mulgrew--We also need procedures for medical issues. We no longer trust this administration anymore. Working on something so we can have checks and balances. Not good enough to take people's word when we already know it's no good.

Questions--(or answers)

Students can opt out. Teachers can ask for accommodations or take a leave.

Equity of schools split into five as opposed to two or three--Will do best we can. Will be discrepancies, but we can't have a cookie cutter approach in this system.

Concern for paras, AP decided to put one with two or three students, not safe for anyone--We will work on a regimen about paras.

There will be different patterns, and that's why they moved to these general models. D75 students will suffer more with lack of continuity. If school wants to use different model they can advocate.

Where is school calendar--DOE scared to pull it out. Wants to start September 10th, but not sure. Will be a lot of training on how schools run differently. Has to be real training, not just a PowerPoint. We will need a scope and sequence in place for each subject in each school for this year. This can't work otherwise. Remote and in person teachers have to be in sync.

We will be involved in safety discussions. Still not sure safety officers will be in DOE, and not this year anyway.

Districts may have remote learning teams. Some schools may have more accommodations than others. We have not figured out how observations will work.

Many things will be addressed at SED level. Blended learning has to be compliant.

Will there be teletherapy in the fall? Probably. Will be combination. What's right PPE for people doing speech and OT/PT? Will coordinate with hospitals to find out.

We are short teachers already. Even with federal package, which would put safety measures in place. We will never have enough teachers. We now need three teachers for thirty students. Chancellor wants to redeploy every DOE person as a teacher this school year. There are some contractual issues with some of these things, but we will discuss it.

Is there any discussion about mandating live synchronous instruction? Will be some sort of expectation for everyone of live synchronous instruction. We are not recreating the school day.

President Trump wants all schools open, no guidelines, says CDC is crazy. We heard that. If CVC changes anything based on politics rather than medicine we won't abide by it. This is ridiculous. Betsy DeVos, who lives in an ivory tower, says everyone takes risks.

Masks are non-negotiable for us.

We don't believe cameras in classrooms will work. Perhaps we can experiment, but we think separate teachers will do remote.

We are moving toward a blended learning model. Not sure why we didn't talk about it in April.

Mulgrew--Do we do a Town Hall, and should I pursue antibody testing for UFT members? 

Member suggests Town Hall would be a good idea, and that testing would be helpful to UFT members.

Ellen Driesen--Agrees.

Mulgrew--City can mandate us to have Covid test, but not antibody test. Professionals are recommending it. Last week a new Covid test came on market, a less invasive nasal swab. There will be something in place, but not sure what it will be yet.

Member suggests there are more questions than answers now, and that we should delay Town Hall. 

Member suggests general Covid tests for UFT members as well. Says some testing sites are screening for who is more at risk, and insurance companies are requiring doctor to tell you to get tested. We should make it easier for members to get both tests and get through red tape.

Mulgrew--Many national labs are now swamped. Once we start school, Covid tests and contact tracing will need to be available. Will need to be immediate.

Will think through Town Hall. We will have these meetings periodically through the summer. We will have to check deeply and carefully in every single school.

Thanks us for coming, and wishes us all down time. 3:53
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