Notes from the August Solidarity Caucus General Meeting

Monday | August 10, 2020 | 3:00 – 4:00 PM via Zoom

General Norms: We have a large group attending today so we are kindly asking for your cooperation by complying with the following:

  • At 3pm we will promptly begin the meeting. At this time, please turn off your video and mute your microphone. This is to help with connectivity.
  • The only people who can have their microphones on are Quinn Z, Ellen B, Lydia H, Jay W, John L, Claudia G, Odalis S, Dan L and Mayra V
  • If you have a question or comment, please use the chat feature in Zoom. Lydia will call on you to share out. 
  • We have two member volunteers take notes. You are encouraged to take your own notes by going to “File” -> “Make a Copy.” Please DO NOT ask for editing access to this copy of the agenda.
  • Please be polite! We are a union caucus and we do not have the ear of the Mayor or Governor. We are trying to help members as best as we can given the collective knowledge we share. 

Agenda

  • Welcome/opening remarks
  • Present situation – what are the plans for September?
    • Schools/DOE
    • Teachers
    • Families
  • Critical concerns 
    • Health and safety
      • Accommodations
      • What if my medical leave isn’t approved?
      • DOE guidelines
      • Building issues
    • Staff – performance expectations from the DOE and public
    • Remote teaching 
      • Technology and other supports
      • Teaching platforms
      • Equipment
      • Professional development
      • ICT and paraprofessional roles and expectations
      • Special education 
      • Evaluations
    • Hybrid/blended teaching
      • Roles, responsibilities, collaboration
      • Synchronous teaching
  • Take action
    • Contact your congress people! They may be the only people standing between us and De Blasio/Carranza making us return.
      • Not trying to get too political here but ONE reason why 50A was repealed was because congresspeople said that people were BOMBARDING them with emails.
    • Sign UFT Solidarity’s petition please and Unity’s petition
    • Contact the  NYC Department of Health and explain why you are against the reopening of NYC schools.
    • Car Caravan protest
    • UFT Solidarity does not collect dues and everything we offer is FREE. However running a caucus can be expensive and donations are welcome. Please consider donating $5 or $10 today
  • Question and Answer Period– if a question occurs to you during the meeting, please email us at UftSolidarityCouncil@googlegroups.comWhat will happen to the C6 period that secondary school teachers have? (by Chris L)
      • Chris, I believe this was answered in Mulgrew’s 8/6 email. But if Cuomo overrules De Blasio then things may change. 
    • Will teachers be expected to enforce mask wearing? (by Poonita)
    • Will we have plexiglass around our desks? (by Poonita)
      • Today I learned that plexiglass is flammable and therefore not a viable option for shields/germ barriers in classrooms in NYS.
  • What will we do about ventilation when the weather becomes very cold? (by Poonita)
  • Will students and teachers be tested weekly? (by Poonita)
  • What if you have a respiratory ailment that is not covered by the CDC medical accommodation list? (by Poonita)
  • How can I find my own PD for remote teaching? (by Alma)
    • If your school has a coach or an academic AP, you can start by asking them.
    • The Facebook group #NYCSchools Tech is fabulous for locating PD and engaging in learning about how to get better at remote teaching. 
    • If your school is not conducive to collaboration, seek out a “teaching buddy” in your UFT Solidarity family. We have teachers across grade and content levels eager to help. Send out an email to the caucus by emailing solidaritycaucus@gmail.com and we will then share it out to the caucus in the Group Chat.
    • New Visions has PD for next week: https://curriculum.newvisions.org/ 

Substitute Teachers will be at the highest risk traveling from one school to another school. Why isn’t anyone discussing this health concern? Will they be offered paid time off? (from Robert H)

  • There will be limited teacher availability in the building due to early retirement, resigning, illness and many teachers have unfortunately passed away. Who will teach the students? Will there be a huge influx of substitute teachers? Will the city/state lessen the certification demands in order to hire and certify more teachers? (From Tammy)

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