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.
- Federal appeals court temporarily reinstates governor’s prohibition of mask mandates in schools
- What We’re Grateful For This Year
- Local unions kick into high gear with campaigns urging vaccinations at free clinics
- Federal judge overrules governor’s ban on mask mandates, freeing districts to implement local safety measures
- Statement on federal court ruling over mask mandates
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.