Updated: Oct 30, 2020
October 29th, 2020
Dear FCFT members,
When we fight, we win. FCPS agreed that staff with pending ADA accommodations no longer need to submit an intent form by the October 30th deadline.
As a union FCFT continues to be focused on three big issues that we have heard repeatedly from our membership - 1) Pushing for safety in any reopening metrics and plan, 2) Monitoring ADA accommodations are being properly handled, and 3) Ensuring that the chosen instructional model is the one focused on quality education. We have worked with thousands of you over the last 6 months to not only identify issues that are happening, but also solutions via our worksite teams and roundtables. We were able to delay the reopening of school, force the district to adopt a safer and more detailed reopening plan and extend deadlines on making the decision to either go back or take a leave of absence.
This all happened because of all of you and the actions we have taken together. Whether it’s participating in our Car Rally, demanding answers from FCPS, sharing our Safety Checklist and violations reporting form, emailing and calling school board members about delaying reopening, or being trained in ADA and safety policies, your actions speak volumes to your commitment to a safe and equitable education. Your actions ensure that decision makers like Dr. Brabrand and the school board must take notice.
We are writing because yesterday our union sent a demand letter to FCPS demanding they clarify in writing how those with ADA accommodations should interact with the intent form that staff must submit by tomorrow and explaining that we would take legal action if they did not. It was unfair that staff were being asked to make a decision about their intention to return before the ADA process was complete and we believed it did not comply with the ADA’s requirements.
We are happy to announce that FCPS has backed off of their ultimatum for those who have pending ADA requests. They have agreed that those with pending ADA accommodations do not need to respond to the October 30th deadline. Though we still have a major fight ahead to ensure that any reopening is done safely, this is a major victory for those who have pending ADA requests.
If you believe that you may qualify for an ADA accommodation, we recommend you complete the ADA accommodation request ASAP and reach out to your FCFT member specialist with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We must continue to do everything in our power to force FCPS to respect the law and respect our members.
Here are the other immediate things you can do to get active and get involved:
Call School Board Members: We need members to continue to urge the school board to delay the reopening. Find phone numbers and a script on this page, and make your calls now.
Email Dr. Brabrand and FCPS Leadership: Send a message to the school board members, FCPS leadership and Dr. Brabrand urging them to work together to delay reopening until there is a clear plan in place to keep everyone safe. The more letters we send, the more powerful our message.
Assess Your School’s Preparedness: Use FCFT’s COVID Safety Checklist to review the safety supplies and procedures at your school. It’s also imperative that you document all violations of public health guidelines on our COVID Safety Violation Tracker. To hold FCPS accountable, we are keeping the health department notified of egregious safety violations.
Join Your Worksite Team: Coordinate with your worksite team to keep your school as safe as possible. If you don’t have a worksite team, email email@example.com ASAP.
Finally, we will be holding another COVID Safety Webinar next Thursday, November 5th, from 5:30-6:30. An AFT health and safety expert will be reviewing various components of building safety, including things to watch out for with ventilation, PPE, hygiene supplies, cleaning/decontamination, and more. RSVP for the event here.
This is only the beginning of our continuing push for safe schools. Our power is in numbers and unity. There is no way forward but together.