Boston Teachers Union seeks injunction, saying district threatened to discipline members who exercise right to work remotely
The Boston Teachers Union has announced that it is seeking injunctive relief as the rate…
The Boston Teachers Union has announced that it is seeking injunctive relief as the rate of positive coronavirus tests in the city has reached 4.1%, making in-person instruction become optional for all Boston Public School educators.
The union is seeking an injunction because the BPS and city did not comply with a memorandum of agreement including language that requires the district to transition to full remote learning as a result of the positive rate, according to a statement.
An emergency town hall was held Wednesday night, which 2,500 members joined.
“Unlike the district, we are honoring the MOA language that we mutually agreed to, but we will do whatever it takes to help set the district on the right path again,” read a bulletin from the union.
Specifically, the MOA reads, “If the citywide COVID-19 positivity rate rises above 4% citywide, BPS will transition to full remote learning for all students, and BTU bargaining unit members will have the option to be remote as well.”
The union said it will continue to comply with the MOA, allowing educators an option to teach remotely and “will support any educators that may face undue repercussions as a result of exercising their right to work safely and remotely now that they citywide rate is above 4%, and is much higher in many Boston neighborhoods.”
The district must work with BTU to create a schedule that allows for teachers to safely assist highest-needs students in-person, the union said.
“We strongly object to the superintendent’s message yesterday which threatened disciplinary action towards members who exercise their rights in the MOA agreement that the city and district negotiated and signed on to. It is our belief that such actions, if taken, would be an illegal violation of the MOA agreement,” the bulletin continues.
Additionally, the union said that the district has not provided evidence that buildings staff are being asked to return to have sufficient air ventilation and air quality.
On Wednesday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the district was pushing back its phased reopening plan because of the positive test rate. On Monday, the district began its first full week of hybrid learning for students with special needs, English language learners and those who are homeless. Those students will continue to have the option of in-person learning.
The district planned to bring preschoolers and kindergartners back to school next week. Now those plans are being pushed back to Oct. 22.
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