UFT News & Updates for May 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I’m grateful to those who have contacted me directly with questions because it gives me a better idea of what to include in the UFT News & Updates.  Thank you for that and also for the condolences for my mom’s passing in February.

I’m trying to avoid posting information that is subject to change.  Therefore there’s nothing that can be said as to what is the policy for reopening New York City schools.  Likewise the school calendar and school budgets and likely excessing of staff is all yet to be determined. 

I have been posting various guidance documents from the DOE and the state with regard to remote instruction.   Please note that these guidances are often open to interpretation.  Since the UFT grievance process was suspended at the time of the closing of schools in March there’s no actual enforcement of what they suggest. 

I hope everyone has been careful in staying home and staying well.  You can reach me at 347-217-2219 for questions and concerns.  Please make sure my gmail address (jlawhead33@gmail.com) is in your contacts. 

UFT Members Lost to the Coronavirus

At the Wednesday Delegate Assembly Michael Mulgrew reported that 68 active members had been lost to the coronavirus as well as 57 retirees.  Pictures and stories about many of these beloved educators can be found at the Honors Page (https://ufthonors.uft.org). There are obituaries there, a place to post comments, and contact information to send condolences to the families.  Of course school administrators, and many relatives of educators have passed away as well.

School Based Options (SBO) Voting

The UFT leadership has been ironing out plans for schools to conduct SBO votes. Because of this the process is happening later than usual. The plans are still sketchy but I learned this week we will be using a program called Election Buddy.

I’ve set up an SBO page with the ballots I submitted to the principal for approval. I will be receiving a list of eligible members who will get an email invitation with directions for voting online anonymously. There has been no decision yet on whether DOE or school emails could be used to get the invitations to members.

The ballots I submitted to the principal included provisions for an early start time and division of the professional activity assignment into 4/1 or 3/2 days in order to accommodate grade and department team meetings. These SBOs had strong support last year. The two ballots with weaker support last year were for additional professional activities and although they passed they were not implemented. Therefore I didn’t submit them to the principal this year.

Summer School Applications

The dates for filing an on-time summer school application are May 21 – June 13, 2020.  The application can be accessed at the DOE Summer Jobs page (https://www.nycenet.edu/summerjobs/).

The instruction will be conducted remotely. For those who have not worked per session during the summer you should be aware that contractual limits for class-size and breaks are not in effect during the summer.

Salary Increase

A raise of 2 ½ percent went into effect on May 14th and will appear in your May 29 paycheck. The lump sum payment for October is still in effect.

Compensation for the additional time worked this term during the cancelled Spring Break which is being requested in addition to the four additional CAR days, is being negotiated.    To check the salary rates, you can visit the UFT salary page.

Further Reading: Student Privacy Concerns

Most people are aware that one of the main online conferencing applications was banned by the DOE and then allowed back in again. This was on account of Zoom not meeting New York State requirements for student privacy protections.

Student privacy an area in which that the DOE has not done a lot in terms of training or informing educators about in general (although service providers for student with special needs are required to be familiar with the federal protections in FERPA).

If you’re interesting in reading more about this, Chad Marlowe of the ACLU has written an article that includes recommendations for Ed Tech companies during the coronavirus pandemic.

There is a handbook for teachers that includes good practices with regard to protecting students privacy.

Good & Welfare

Please take care of yourself! The epidemic is taking a heavy toll on people’s sense of well being. Michael Mulgrew that the Member Assistance Program has been overwhelmed with requests for counseling. This month the city announced expanded services also. Look in the enyfaufter.net menu for updates on this.

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