Monday, December 14, 2020

UFT Executive Board December 14, 2020--Schools Closing, Opening, Closing, Opening...

Rashad Brown--December 16 streaming of Moonlight hosted by teacher Maurice Blackmon. January 21st Shirley Chisolm film. Info coming.

Toy drive underway. Please support. 

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--President elect confirmed and William Barr stepped down. Thanks to everyone. Today is vaccine day, and we'll see how it goes. Doctors in NY say things went well. We want to make sure teachers have access to vaccine on second tier. It's appropriate and important because of what we've able to do.

Lack of stimulus is still bad sign. Heastie may bring Assembly back, and we advocate taxing the wealthy. We are in trouble. Next year's budget deficit for city state and MBA is 40 billion. These are crazy numbers. GA is very important now. 

There have been more teacher layoffs across state and country this week. President elect says we need to support and open schools. Governor has said he may have cuts, there have been none, but upstate layoffs continue. This will be ugly. DeVos and Koch trying to get people to drop union and using this as excuse. 

Turnaround on testing is big issue. They can't seem to get them back here within 24-48 hours. We don't know if it's volume or lab capacity. We discussed this over weekend. City and state have plateaued in terms of testing. Many schools closed last week as direct result of testing. Tracing needs to be in place so we know who to isolate.

Working on quicker communication system. We are holding their feet to the fire. They wanted to disregard positive tests saying they got this at home, but we said no. In paper today, we see COVID response team was shut down by principal at home with an accommodation. We got 10,600 tests today and want results by Wednesday.

Meeting twice with chancellor. Their special ed. dept sends out crazy contradictory guidance. Our official consultation is Friday. We're preparing to help out communities. Biden campaign has reached out to us about NYC plans. We understand some members are fearful, but we will follow doctors' advice. Biden team understands need for both school and safety. No one has our testing capacity. 

We will push to help communities with food shortage. This will be needed. We will be out there helping. We're also putting together programs about elections, with mayoral race next year. Many candidates now.For last three weeks we've been hearing about mayoral control. We oppose it. No one person should make decisions without checks or balances. 


Elementary at five days--Biggest issue is blended remote. Fully remote and live are not problematic, but some principals have put all three together. If there is five day instruction, blended is not needed. Percentage between 30-35 so may be easy to do. Some schools have worked it out. 185 schools doing just live and remote. 

Positivity rates in schools still lower than anywhere else. I'm not a doctor, but doctors report younger children get COVID at lower rate and are not as contagious. Most evidence comes from countries with heavy duty testing. People are watching us because we're testing a large % of children. Right before we went to fully remote, most large high schools were shut down. Teenagers get it at higher rate.

As vaccine gets out into communities, rates should begin to drop. We still have lowest rates in US. SW states have over 30% positivity.

We will do something for CLs. We will do a modified Teacher Union Day. We need to make sure story of what we've done in NYC gets out there. It's an amazing story. If we are really at a plateau it will make things easier.

AFT and NEA locals take different positions. AFT says if you can open safely you should. NEA favored not opening until there was a vaccine, but with Biden in office they are moving toward AFT position. They didn't trust Trump. We are the only large system open. Some plan to, and some have tried. Positivity rates in their areas have jumped dramatically. It's clear there will be pressure. Biden says we should open if % is not up, but PPE, training, signage, etc. is in place. 

School in Brooklyn says same cohort tested each week--This is why we're setting up a new process. We will fix this. I saw testing team run in a building last week. They were running. Seemed impossible for them to get this done. They are delegating more personnel. They went from 20% a month to 20 a week. Even with only lower grades, they now have to process faster. We will stay on top of them.

We have another school where we made them test a new cohort on a different day.

We are in section 1b in SI. I'm concerned about losing days to vaccine side effects---Will discuss in consultation this week. 

Thanks to CLs doing training, to Teacher Center delivering instruction on weekends, to students at all levels. Be safe and we'll meet next week. See you at Wednesday DA

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