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Article Retiree chapters Coronavirus

Tips for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic
How one retiree chapter is supporting seniors during stay at home

By Susan Morgan, President, AFT Local 1931 Retiree Chapter

As a retiree chapter, one of our current challenges is to find new ways to stay connected, be supportive, and sustain our esprit de corps. The current pandemic has increased challenges for retirees, many of whom were already dealing with the social challenges of isolation and loneliness. These newly heightened mental health concerns are real, and our task is to find meaningful ways to connect with our members to support our common union values and goals.

Article Coronavirus Educational Technology

Paraeducator steps up, makes face shields for medical workers
Gilroy family applies 3-D printing skills from campus STEAM lab

By Arti O’Connor, President, Gilroy Federation of Paraeducators

Diana Torres, a paraeducator in the Gilroy Unified School District, has been instrumental in establishing the STEAM lab and program at Las Animas Elementary School. I met her several months ago and was extremely impressed when she showed me the lab — with a 3-D printer — that she uses to teach students about that form of technology.

Article Coronavirus State Budget

Uncertainty surrounds education budget for coming year
The one known — coronavirus has blown a giant hole in the state budget

The governor and the Legislature know the COVID-19 pandemic has blown a huge hole in the state budget, but they can’t easily project state revenues or the impact on Proposition 98 — the mechanism that provides K-12 schools and community colleges about 40 percent of the state’s General Fund.

Article Coronavirus Immigration DACA

Undocumented students more vulnerable than ever during pandemic
How faculty can make a difference

By Jessica Silver-Sharp, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers

When I first wrote about undocumented students in October 2017, I couldn’t have foreseen how things could change so much in less than three years. Two out of three of our campus Dream Centers in the San Mateo Community College District were established during this time when young “Dreamers” were forming a national youth movement and “coming out” across the country. Then, a majority of the hundreds of undocumented students on campus enjoyed legal protections under DACA.

Article Coronavirus Retiree chapters

Being retired in the time of Covid-19

By Dennis Cox, Southern Vice President, Council of Retired Members

AFT retirees have contributed so much to American education, and are in line for well-deserved gratitude from their students, colleagues and communities. You warrant a heartfelt thanks for what you have done, and for staying home and keeping yourselves safe during this outbreak. You are extremely valuable citizens. So, thank you to all who have served, and are now staying safely sheltered in your homes! Please continue to do all you can to stay safe.

Members collect 20,000 signatures in support of Schools & Communities First
Hitting statewide goal helped land measure on November 3 ballot

Update: On June 4, Schools and Communities First officially qualified for the November 3 General Election ballot.

Last fall, when CFT began circulating petitions to qualify the Schools and Communities First initiative, seems like a world away. Yet on April 1, the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the coalition submitted 1.7 million signatures, nearly twice the number needed to put the measure on the November ballot and the most ever gathered in California history.

Article Coronavirus AFT

AFT guidelines call for safe reopening of schools and communities
National union defines five key tenets for reopening

The AFT on April 30 released a detailed road map that, in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, charts a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.

The 20-page, science-based “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” sprung from an intense collaboration of public health professionals, union leaders and frontline workers to prepare for what happens next in the period between flattening the curve and truly eradicating the virus.

Allan Hancock College teachers and the ‘new normal’
Union presidents surveys part-time faculty for newspaper column

By Mark James Miller, Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College

“I miss the face-to-face contact.”

“Something is missing.”

“I miss being with my students.”

As Hancock College’s part-time instructors adapt to the “new normal” brought on by the coronavirus, one theme is constant: With all classes now being taught remotely, they miss being in the classroom with their students.

Adjunct faculty leaders organize, meet challenges of pandemic
The union picture — now and in the months ahead

The ongoing COVID-19 experience for part-time instructors has demonstrated their great collective strength and resiliency, despite limited pay, benefits, job security, and often minimal support.

Several local union leaders — who are part-time faculty — report that beyond the initially hectic and at times frenzied process of transitioning to remote instruction and services, faculty have more or less still been able to teach a semblance of their face-to-face course.