This pandemic isn’t over.
Here’s the information you need to ensure a safe return to school for yourself, your colleagues, and your students.
- Socorro union scores big victory with over $1 million in back pay to school employees robbed of leave days
- Dallas union urges district to reinstate COVID-19 leave days
- Survey shows Texas educators do not feel safe at schools, overwhelmingly support mask mandates and rapid testing for Covid-19
- Statement on Abbott’s Parents Bill of Rights
- ‘This Is Your Test’: An Open Letter to Public Education Leaders
Send a Letter: Tell Gov. Abbott and TEA that local school districts should have the authority to keep our communities and children safe — including by mandating mask use.
See below for direct action you can take at the local level for fair/higher pay and safe campuses.
Take action locally to ensure you get the support you need during the Omicron surge
Members who took our survey on the Omicron surge told us they needed help. While we are working at the state level to get leaders to do their job, we also know that many solutions can only be enacted at the local level. Texas AFT has put together a resource for local unions and members waging COVID safety fights and campaigns for fair pay and increased wages in your districts during this Omicron surge.
Below, you’ll find links to download a document with language and requests you can use and customize for your local campaigns. For example, you could turn it into:
- Letter campaigns
- School board resolutions
- Local op-eds or letters to the editor
Since this fight is different in every district, we intend this to be a fully customizable, use-what-you-need resource rather than a one-size-fits-all template. It is drafted as a letter to your superintendent and/or school board, but you can pick and choose language to fit any campaign.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
The No. 1 way to protect our communities is for everyone who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, to get one.
Find a provider near you & make an appointment online at vaccines.gov.
If you are hesitant about getting a vaccine or know someone who is, here are the facts you need to make informed decisions for your health.
Vaccines are free for everyone.
- You cannot be denied a vaccine for being unable to pay a vaccine administration fee.
- You can get vaccinated regardless of immigration status.
- As of now, vaccines are approved for everyone over age 12.
- You can find providers nears you at vaccines.gov.
Vaccines are safe and effective.
- While people do experience various side effects after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, getting vaccinated is far safer than getting the virus.
- Millions of people have been safely vaccinated.
- No other vaccine has been tested as much for safety in U.S. history.
Vaccines make you less likely to get COVID-19 and protect you from severe illness.
- Being fully vaccinated reduces your chances of getting COVID-19. CDC data shows that people who aren’t fully vaccinated are more than 10 times as likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 and more than 10 times likely to die from it.
- If you get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, the vaccine protects you from getting seriously ill.
- The vaccines are effective at protecting you from new variants of the virus.
Vaccine side effects are normal.
- Side effects mean the vaccine is teaching your body how to fight COVID-19.
- Side effects can include flu-like symptoms (headache, chills, or fever), as well as pain or swelling on your arm where you got the vaccine. Most last only a day or two.
- Some of the COVID-19 vaccines require two shots. Side effects may be unpleasant, but it’s important to get both shots for full protection.
Myth-Busting COVID-19 & Vaccine Misinformation
Myth: COVID-19 is the same as the flu.
FACT: COVID-19 is three times more infectious and more deadly than the seasonal flu. In fact, COVID-19 has killed more than 10 times as many people as the worst flu season of the past decade.
Myth: The Delta variant of COVID-19 is overblown.
FACT: Officials at the Centers for Disease Control have said the Delta variant seems to cause more severe illness than the original virus and spreads as easily as chickenpox. Well, as chickenpox did before we had a vaccine, which is required for Texas students.
Myth: Kids don’t get COVID-19 or don’t get sick from COVID-19.
FACT: Children have always been susceptible to COVID-19. But with the Delta variant’s “hypertransmissibility,” more children are getting sick — and they’re getting sicker.
Myth: Vaccinated people are getting the Delta variant, so there’s no point in getting vaccinated.
FACT: 99.5% of all new COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are happening among unvaccinated people. While vaccinated people can still contract the virus, they are almost exclusively experiencing mild or no symptoms.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines were rushed and are too new to trust.
FACT: The technology used to create the COVID-19 vaccines was in development for almost two decades. Vaccine-makers started early, worked smart, and had plenty of resources to create vaccines that are 95% effective.
Myth: I’m vaccinated, so I don’t need to wear a mask anymore.
FACT: The Delta variant changed the game. Studies show vaccinated people can contract the virus and spread it, though they are highly unlikely to experience serious illness. Being vaccinated AND masked protects not only yourself but other unvaccinated people — including kids.
Myth: Mask mandates are an infringement of my rights.
FACT: We wear shoes and a shirt to a restaurant. We buckle our seatbelts in the car. We’re required to do all sorts of things for the good of ourselves and others. In a public health crisis, it’s our responsibility to protect one another.
Myth: Masks don’t work, so mandates are pointless.
FACT: Universal masking works to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The evidence is that so many of us are still here to debate this fact.
For more information on the safety and importance of vaccination and COVID-19 safety measures, visit https://aft.org/coronavirus.
Why is this important? After more than a year of pandemic, teachers want to be in their classrooms with their students — safely.
Other COVID-19 Resources
- Know Your Rights Part 1 Webinar (Video 8.19.20)
- Know Your Rights Part 2 Webinar (Video 8.19.20)
- Know Your Rights Part 3 Webinar (Video 9.23.20)
- Know Your Rights Webinar PowerPoint (8.19.20)
- Know Your Rights Webinar PowerPoint (9.23.20)
FMLA & ADA
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- FMLA and ADA Webinar Video (7.9.20)
- FMLA and ADA PowerPoint (7.9.20)
- Handout 1: FMLA and ADA (PDF)
- Handout 2: FMLA & ADA 1-Pager (PDF)
- Handout 3: FMLA & ADA 1-Pager Spanish (PDF)
- Handout 4: FMLA & ADA Taking Days and Pay (PDF)
General Know Your Rights Resources
- General Know Your Rights Page
- FAQ: Workers’ Rights During COVID-19
- COVID-19 Legal Guidance for Union Members
- Right to Join a Union
- Campus Safety Committee Toolkit
- Whistleblower Protections
- Contract Abandonment
Safety committees are an essential way to collect concerns from employees and hold leaders accountable. Check with your local union or your school nurse to see if your campus has one. If not, you can start one yourself with our toolkit.