California Educator

December/January 2021

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M A R I N C O U N T Y: Coalition for healthy schools Marin Educators for Safe Schools (MESS) is a coalition of 14 CTA locals and three California Federation of Teachers chapters in Marin County, representing more than 1,500 educators. The coali- tion formed to plan and collaborate to ensure all students have safe and healthy schools in the age of COVID-19. This summer, the coalition contacted more than 1,000 parents and educators, calling for schools to require at least 6 feet of social distance, mandate personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings for all students, educators and school visitors, and guar- antee small cohort sizes. The coalition was successful in achieving these safety goals in agreements with nearly every local. Only the Novato Federation of Teachers, a CFT affiliate, continues to negoti- ate at press time. The coalition now transitions to educating, equipping and empowering members and local leaders to enforce the agreements reached with districts. It is focused on ensuring that rank-and- file members have the tools and power needed to ensure safe schools through direct collective action and by organizing around grievances and formal complaints. To that end, CTA and CFT staff conducted two nights of trainings, called "Safe Schools Start With You — Stronger Together," reaching members at approximately 50 school sites. The coalition faces fierce opposition from hostile trustees, highly organized and well-funded parent groups, and most district super- intendents and the county superintendent, whose top-down management approach is challenged. But the Marin County locals continue to band together to ensure safe and healthy schools for their students and educators. Bargaining Roundup Compiled by Julian Peeples S A C R A M E N T O C O U N T Y: Rising together for safety Sacramento County schools cannot reopen unless it is safe to do so. That's the unified call from 11 local educators associations to ensure the collective health of educators, students and communities. In a Nov. 18 letter to the county superintendent and chief health officer, chapter presidents urged officials to implement robust COVID-19 test- ing, tracing and preventative measures before physically reopening schools and exposing Sacramento County communities to health risks. Even as COVID cases spiked, some schools were allowed to physically reopen without the necessary safety protections. The letter calls on officials to step in and ensure community safety when local leaders won't provide the testing, tracing and trans- parency that educators, students and their families deserve. " The lack of testing and robust safety mea- sures is irresponsible and puts not only the lives of our students and staff in danger, but their families and the entire community," says River Delta Unified Teachers Association Presi- dent Marsha Montgomery. 45 D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 21 A

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