Moving Into Reopening
Here are the highlights:
We’ve repeatedly reiterated that we don’t believe all teachers should be returning to campuses next week. Yesterday we asked - again - for teacher return to be staggered to fit with the gradual return of students to campuses. There’s no reason for 100% of teachers to be on campus to work with up to 10% of students. District leadership disagreed with us. They will go ahead with requiring 100% of teachers to be back on Tuesday (depending on campus plans, and those who are excused from returning for medical reasons).
Our focus now has to be on next week and the safety plans and protocols that are in place. However good the district plan may or may not be, what really matters is the way that that plan is implemented on each individual campus. If you have concerns about your campus plans or protocols, now’s the time to speak up. Start with sharing your concerns with your principal (see our Worksite Action Toolkit), and offer potential solutions if you can. Share them with us too, so that we can communicate with district leadership about them and try to solve them together.
We’ve been hearing that many school workers haven’t been given their PPE yet, and that not all student PPE has been provided. We received assurances from district leadership that all PPE will be at campuses on Tuesday. If you find next week that PPE has not been provided, inform your campus principal, and reach out to us immediately, so we can act.
We also raised the HVAC issues that have long plagued our schools - and that are already making workplaces unbearably hot this year. We’ve asked for all principals to create and share contingency plans in case of HVAC system failures at their campus. We’re pushing for plans to be shared with every educator by Monday. Contingency plans should be appropriate for, and adequate to the seriousness of the situation we face.
We want to be clear. Teachers, students, support personnel, and their families should take whatever steps they need to take to ensure their safety. No one should be in a classroom or building without functioning air conditioning and fresh air circulation at this moment. We call on all those who work in our schools, all those who attend them, and all those in the communities to which they belong to act in defense of human life at this moment and to ensure that no student or educator is put at risk.
Return to Campus Reporting
As we return to campuses with students in the middle of a pandemic, there are bound to be problems. Our collective response can and will save lives. Our union has already won safety measures from district leadership including TEA's 8 week virtual learning voucher, science based safety metrics, and a 10% return for students instead of the permitted 25%. We must continue to stand together and protect human life. If you are experiencing unsafe conditions at your campus, use the below form to report it and take the actions you can to respond. Our organizers will work with you to make your campus safer. Click here to submit a Return to Campus worksite report.
WIN: Burbank Teacher Reinstated
Burbank High School teacher and union steward, Luke Amphlett, was put on administrative leave earlier this week for organizing on his campus around safe school reopening. After immense backlash from coworkers, parents, students, and other community members, Amphlett was officially reinstated today. The reinstatement of one of our union members is a fantastic win for us. It reaffirms what we know to be true: When we fight, we win.
Moving Forward: We Must Keep Organizing
There has been much activist movement in the last couple of months around safe school reopening. Union members, coalition partners, parents, students, and community members are speaking up and speaking out about the lack of transparency, accountability, and consistency from SAISD elected leadership and administration. What we’ve seen is that organizing works and it remains as vital as ever that we are engaging in organizing efforts across the district. We’ve created a worksite action toolkit to get you and your coworkers started: Check out the Worksite Action Toolkit.