NTA EBulletin January 10, 2021

Newton Schools Need Surveillance Testing! As many of you are probably aware, in a press conference on Friday, Governor Baker announced he was making funding available to school districts to implement pooled surveillance testing at least once per week, for both staff and students. This funding would be available for six weeks, after which districts would be able to to continue funding their programs out of federal stimulus funding. Please click on this link to send an email to the members of the School Committee, the Mayor, David Fleishman, and the Commission of Newton's Health and Human Services Department, Deborah Youngblood. Tell them: Newton Schools Need Surveillance Testing! Please note: This is a new email...it is not the same email I asked you to send last December. To date, the district has done an excellent job of setting up its own asymptomatic testing program. But it is not yet a SURVEILLANCE testing program, as it only allows testing once every two weeks. We should not take it for granted that Newton will take full advantage of this new funding the state is offering. District leaders need our "encouragement." Please, click on this link. When you do, you will be given the option of simply sending the sample letter we have prepared for you, or modifying the letter by adding your own personal experiences/thoughts. If you live in Newton, you should definitely be sure to include that information in your email. But bear in mind that the results of "encouragement" are most often the consequence of numbers. Ten percent of NTA members sending an email is 200 emails. Fifty percent is 1,000 emails. Can we send at 1,000 emails? Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just clicking the link and sending the sample email is good enough. You will be sending this email in your own name--and that is part of what gives it power. I want to make clear: you need have no fear of sharing an email in your own name. It is your legal first amendment right to express your opinion on matters of public importance as a citizen. Sending this email is also union activity--you are sending this email as a member of the NTA. You have the protections both of a citizen and a union member, and the latter protects you against any form of retaliation, and provides you with the full backing of the union if you need it. You are writing as an individual; you are protected by your union. We have a short window, as the application deadline is January 15. But more importantly...this funding is coming way too late. We are entering the most difficult and dangerous period of this pandemic. Newton has been fortunate that case counts in both the city and in the schools have been relatively low, but we cannot continue to count on good fortune. Schools are not safe, but they can be safer. Together, we can make schools safer! Please click on this link to send an email to the members of the School Committee, the Mayor, David Fleishman, and the Commission of Newton's Health and Human Services Department, Deborah Youngblood. "Newton Needs Surveillance Testing!" Newton Schools Need Surveillance Testing! *************** "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well. Mike Mike Zilles, President Newton Teachers Association

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