Dear YFT members,
YONKERS, NY — September 5, 2020 — This week, the YFT Executive Board addressed hundreds of questions and concerns about the opening of schools for synchronous remote instruction, the frustratingly inadequate training, and the persistent technological challenges we experienced. Our members faced these challenges with impressive persistence, professionalism, patience, and fortitude. For that we sincerely thank you.
On Friday, September 4, 2020 the YFT Executive Board met with the district to continue negotiations for remote instruction working conditions. The fact that these working conditions are not in place prior to our members returning to work this week and beginning remote instruction on Tuesday, September 8, is unacceptable. Although slow and untimely, we did make some progress in our negotiations and we hope to reach an agreement soon. Please be aware that all provisions of the YFT/BOE Collective Bargaining Agreement remain in place until otherwise negotiated.
At the meeting, we also took the opportunity to convey the following list of issues and concerns we collected from you, our members, this week:
Top 10 Remote Learning Issues
(Only issues that were reported by more than 80% of the buildings are on this list:
1. Student rosters have not been populated in the Teams platform.
2. Internet continues to crash or slow down frequently.
3. Trainings have been subpar at best. Schools report that the training consisted of videos that show what the platforms can do, not how to execute them.
c. Seesaw (classes not set up).
d. Benchmark (compatible with Google Classroom not Teams).
4. ENL teachers are not connected with students.
5. IEPs are not available.
6. Parents and students have not been informed who their teachers are, nor do they know what to do. Tuesday morning. Teachers asked to call all families without knowledge of plan for next week.
7. District issued equipment not working properly (laptops, microphones, speakers, cameras).
8. Not enough sanitizing stations throughout the buildings or cleaning supplies.
9. Administrators are not promoting mask wearing or social distancing in the buildings.
10. Teachers physical assignments within buildings.
a. Multiple teachers to a room create feedback issues on computers.
b. Multiple teachers assigned to offices/rooms does not allow for proper social distancing.
c. Teachers split between multiple buildings creates more opportunity for exposure.
d. Teachers without classrooms and assigned to work remotely from hallways.
Negotiations on other working conditions are as follows:
*Please note that: (a) this is not a complete list, and (b) no parts of the agreement have been finalized. The following list is pending until the Memorandum of Agreement has been signed by both parties.*
• YFT proposed that each member shall be provided with a working device with a camera and microphone and all necessary programs and platforms.
• YFT emphasized the need for additional professional development to be provided during the contractual work day.
• YFT and the District shall continue to negotiate any necessary changes to teachers’ APPR. YFT proposed that teachers shall not be evaluated on their ability/skillset to use technology and will not be held accountable in any way for technological malfunctions or non-functioning devices and shall not be required to “make up” or post lessons missed due to technological or device malfunctions unless provided with time (not prep or lunch) during the work day or paid the contractual rate to voluntarily do so outside the work day.
• Agreed as of now: Instructional videos shall not be used to supplant teachers or reduce staffing positions. Nor will these videos be used by the District to generate revenue.
• Agreed as of now: Teachers may communicate through Class Dojo, Remind, Bloomz, Edmodo, and Band. These platforms may be used for the purpose of communication only and not for delivery of instruction.
• YFT and the District shall continue to negotiate how student attendance and engagement must be recorded in PowerSchool for students not attending during synchronous remote instruction but completing the work offline or outside class time.
• YFT and the District shall continue to negotiate expectations for synchronous instruction and flexibility regarding camera/face time, pre-recorded lessons not being required, presentation, and privacy issues.
• Health and Safety measures: YFT proposed and strongly emphasized the need for mask breaks for those sharing spaces; mandatory 14-day building closure for COVID-related cases; teachers not assigned or volunteer to take temperatures of students or other adults; need to address teachers sent home due to suspected contact or exposure; remote learning from home in cases of building closure; air flow reports for classroom and public spaces; all staff in building to be notified of any COVID-positive case in that building and the measures taken to address it.
• Schedules: YFT proposed the following schedules, which differ from the schedules many administrators have disseminated from the District’s re-entry plan (**see in the attached link and/or by clicking on the email sent out**).
Once again, we thank you all for your ongoing dedication, professionalism, and care for our students. Please know that we continue to support and advocate for you. We will keep you informed as we move forward.
YFT Executive Board