Our local unions are actively trying to ensure they are stakeholders in decisions on pay raises and decision-making on reopening plans. Predictably, the reaction and response from districts on requests for inclusion has been anywhere from welcoming to ignoring school employees—the obvious people, along with parents, who should be direct participants in helping make these decisions.
We can report, for instance, that El Paso AFT helped secure a 2% raise and a likely $500 stipend for employees, and the union is actively surveying members and taking in feedback to relay to the district on what safety measures should be implemented. And the district is being responsive. Realize that the logistics are incredibly complex trying to figure out how to get large student populations transported, instructed, and fed (and masked?) all with distancing, as well as whether calendars should change and be blended with remote learning.
While many districts have made headway in initial decisions on reopening, most have not. We will be continuing at the state level to monitor district decision making and will continue to promote a well-researched plan from our national affiliate, AFT’s “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities.”
We also refer you to our initial guidance on what districts must do, what districts should do, and how employees can deal with health concerns, as well as TEA’s guidance for summer school. While these can answer many of your questions, stay tuned for a new package of information that better addresses what districts are considering for the reopening and how you can navigate the process safely. The best way to stay plugged in is to check this Hotline each week and make regular visits to our Facebook page.