Last Thursday, Mayor Fuller reported that, for the period from May 12 to May 18, there were 359 reported cases of COVID among students, and 42 among staff in the Newton Public Schools. This is the third highest number of reported school cases of any city or town in the state, with only Boston and Springfield reporting more. Moreover, reported cases do not reflect the number of actual cases, primarily because most testing is now at home, and is not reported. There's a lot of COVID in our schools! Over the remaining four weeks of school, we can expect many absences due to COVID. If you or a member of your family tests positive for COVID or has COVID like symptoms and you must remain home from school, you should report the cause of your absence on Frontline as COVID. If you have used all of the ten COVID days you were granted, HR will recategorize your absence as either a personal or family illness day. Coming at the end of the school year, the number of absences could be compounded by members wanting to use up their personal days. Personal days cannot be carried over directly as personal days for the following year. However, it is no longer the case that if you don't use your personal days, you simply lose them. In our last contract, we reached an agreement with the school committee that any unused personal days you have remaining at the end of the school year will be converted to sick days and added to your accumulated total number of sick days for future use. Please remember that it is going to be challenging for those who remain in the buildings when large numbers of staff members are absent. So I ask you to be judicious in your use of personal days for the remainder of the school year. Of course, if you have reason to use your personal days in the coming weeks, you may do so at your discretion (except to extend a holiday weekend). But you do not have to use them simply in order to avoid losing them. Parent / Educator Collaborative
The Newton City Council will be meeting this week for final deliberations on the city budget. The Parent / Educator Collaborative has hosted two listening sessions with City Council members, where educators have expressed grave concern regarding the remaining cuts to the middle school intervention programs and cuts to mental health staff. If you're available, it's very important that NTA members log on to the City Council meeting this Monday night, May 23, at 7pm to show the City Council that educators are looking for them to take action regarding these issues.
MTA New Member Summer Program
Are you a new educator interested in learning more about the union, but don't know where to begin? The New Member Program at MTA Summer Conferenceis for you! This program will run from July 31stto August 3rd at UMASS Amherst and is one track of the MTA Summer Conference. Through this program you will learn everything from union basics, reading and understanding your contract, as well as how to bargain a contract. This is a great opportunity to meet and network with other MTA members from across the state. This program is free to members in their the first five years. Please reach out to Ariana Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. Registration will open at the end of May.