FRAMINGHAM – Over the past few days, the Framingham Teachers Association has provided members with two opportunities to share their thoughts regarding their return to working in buildings.
On Sunday, January 24, members received a Google survey as well as an invitation to an all-member meeting, held on Monday, January 25.
Of the approximately 1,200 FTA members, there were 552 responses to the Google survey and 447 educators in attendance at the all-member meeting. Overall, 87% of the Google survey respondents indicated a belief that, under typical conditions, student learning is better in person than in a remote setting; clearly, teachers want to be back with their students.
That said, 77% of respondents said that “the level of COVID in the community” was their greatest concern about returning to the building.
In addition, 83% of respondents supported the metrics of a 4% positivity rate and an average of 10 daily cases as a condition of our return.
At the all-member meeting, staff brought forward several ideas for ensuring a safe return to buildings.
A majority of the attendees who voted supported motions to include the following items in a list of required safety measures.
● 4% positivity rate and 10 or fewer daily cases, as established by FPS and the Board of Health in December
● FTA and FPS work together to establish metrics that would trigger a return to remote learning
● All educators who can and wish to do so must be vaccinated, with first priority going to Phase 1 and 2 educators
● Mandatory mask wearing for all (except where medically unable), as stated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) negotiated by FPS and FTA in August
● Mandatory pool testing for students and educators. (Testing only has an impact if all in-person students are included; if families do not consent to pool testing, their children may continue learning remotely.)
In addition, a majority of the attendees who voted supported the motion that educators have the ability to telework while quarantining, assuming they are well enough to do so. A classroom supervisor could monitor the students in person. Allowing educators to continue working during a quarantine would provide consistency for student learning.
A motion was also made for the FTA public relations chair to send letters detailing these safety measures to the Superintendent, School Committee, and the media. This motion was supported by a majority of the members who were present and voted at the meeting.
We value the opportunity to teach our students in person, and we want to make sure the experience is as safe as possible for all students, staff and families.
We are hopeful that the Framingham community will reach the desired metrics and that the vaccine will be available to staff soon, allowing for a smooth and uninterrupted transition back to in person learning.
Public Relations Chair
Framingham Teachers Association
Editor’s Note: Headline updated at 9:19 p.m. after consultation with FTA President.