Here are some timely and important notices for your information:
– Vaccines For RTA and RAP Members. I am pleased to inform you that, with help from the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, 1100 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be made available next week to interested, but yet to be vaccinated, members of RTA and the Rochester Association Paraprofessionals (RAP). Appointments for the first shot will be reserved solely for RTA and RAP members each evening next week so that the appointments do not conflict with work hours. Participants will then also receive appointments for the second dose of the vaccine approximately three weeks later. The vaccines will be administered at the Fleet Center (145 Paul Road). We will send the link to all RTA members as soon as the vaccines arrive – either this weekend or Monday at the latest. We are enormously grateful to NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta and NYSUT Executive Director Melinda Person for their efforts on our behalf.
– MOU on Reopening Schools. The Memorandum of Understanding between RTA and the RCSD, signed on December 18, 2020, clearly stipulates that teachers are to be at the work site for in-person instruction but “shall retain the option of staying remote for the balance of their professional day” (see attached MOU, Paragraph 3). Some Phase 3 colleagues have also inquired whether the District, by changing their original plan for grades 7-12 and requiring hybrid instruction, was within their scope of management prerogative. The MOU only required that “Should the District decide to return more students to in-person or hybrid instruction, the District shall notify those teachers who will be required to report to their buildings no less than four weeks prior to the reporting date (MOU, Paragraph 10). The District met that requirement and therefore exercised management prerogative. If you have any additional questions or concerns about the District’s adherence to the terms of our MOU, please contact us or reach out to your RTA Faculty Representative(s).
– PPE and Related Supplies. In an effort to immediately support RTA members who may not have been provided the required PPE and related supplies, the RTA’s Action Committee, in collaboration with RTA’s Health and Safety Committee, will attempt to provide immediate relief by either securing the needed items from the District or purchasing and delivering them while awaiting grievance resolution. If you are affected, please file a grievance and notify the RTA’s Action Committee through a form that will be sent to all RTA members soon. This initiative was authorized by the RTA Representative Assembly through a resolution that also called on RTA to seek reimbursement for any costs incurred by the RTA during this effort.
– Reporting of COVID-19 Cases in Schools. We are still seeking clarification from the District about the exact process that they use to report occurrences of COVID-19 positive tests in our District and at each individual school. We are trying to determine who actually reports to whom, what the role of school principals is, why there are discrepancies between known occurrences and what is posted on the State website, etc. Accuracy and transparency about such information are vital. Meanwhile, you can visit the NYS COVID-19 Report Card <https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/ > for the most up-to-date information of the RCSD’s and your individual school’s testing and results. As soon as we receive specific answers from the District we will relay that to you.
– Phase 3 Ventilation Reports. Although delayed for a week because of inclement weather, the ventilation systems at all Phase 3 schools (Leadership Academy For Young Men, Monroe, Franklin, School Without Walls, Rochester International Academy, East, All City High and Nathaniel Rochester) were inspected by RTA’s Industrial Hygienist. The reports for these buildings will be shared with the RTA Faculty Representatives from the affected schools and will also be posted on the RTA website <www.rochesterteachers.com> under the Health and Safety page.
– NYSUT Pushes For Early Retirement Incentive. In an effort to reduce costs, avert layoffs and recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic, our State union is advocating for an early retirement incentive for New York State’s teachers and other public employees. Offering an early retirement incentive would be good for employees, employers and communities they serve. You can help by getting involved. Click on <Take action now at the NYSUT Member Action Center to ask lawmakers to enact a statewide early retirement incentive for all public employees as part of the final state budget agreement for 2021-2022!>.
Thank you for all that you do every day for your students. Stay safe.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President