Topic: Safe Workplaces

Article Environment Wildfires

Unions step up to help wildfire evacuees
Wildfires threaten member homes and lives

Fires in California, many started by lightning, have burned a little more than a million acres, and scores of people have lost homes and thousands more have been forced to evacuate, including CFT members. The fires, some of the largest in the state’s history are burning in areas including Lake, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties.

Article

State issues reopening guidelines for higher education
Include areas of note for community colleges

California released its reopening guidelines for higher education on August 7.

While most of the guidance is geared to four-year colleges and universities, there are also some significant areas of note for the community colleges, which are summarized here.

Article Coronavirus Distance learning

California Dept. of Public Health updates reopen guidelines for schools
CFT wants to see stronger guidelines

During his July 17 noon press conference, Governor Newsom announced statewide guidelines for reopening K-12 schools this fall.

While the governor addressed some of the demands that the union articulated to him and state leaders in the CFT letter sent on Monday, CFT still believes that there is more to be done to ensure the safety of California’s teachers, school staff, students, and communities.

Article Coronavirus Distance learning

CFT urges Governor Newsom to delay physically reopening schools
Surging coronavirus cases, testing woes make opening safely all but impossible

The CFT has asked Governor Newsom and state legislative leaders to delay the physical reopening of schools. Despite coronavirus cases surging throughout the state, growing numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and mounting testing woes, some school districts are rushing to reopen — putting students, teachers, and communities at risk.

In a letter to state leaders, the CFT also urged the governor to provide stronger leadership and direction to school communities, who have been left on their own to make the difficult decision on whether it is safe to reopen schools.

Article Coronavirus

California Community Colleges issue reopening guidelines
Task force develops guidance and recommendations

The California Community Colleges organized a high-level task force to create a roadmap of available resources for the safe reopening of community college campuses.

The task force report contains considerations and recommendations for the Chancellor’s Office. However, the broad recommendation of the Report of the Safe Campus Reopening Workgroup is that further action be undertaken locally by subject matter experts. This includes labor partners such as AFT local unions as well as state, federal and local governments, medical professionals, and those directly managing the pandemic response.

Article Coronavirus

CFT Checklist for Safely Reopening Schools and Colleges
Key checkpoints for physical reopening in the time of the coronavirus

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and colleges across California were shuttered to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Staff remaining on campus performed the challenging duties of distance learning support, meal preparation and pick-up, and deep cleaning to maintain educational services during shelter-in-place orders, as well as prepare for eventual physical reopening.

In the union’s document, Checklist for Safely Reopening Schools & Colleges, the CFT does not encourage the physical reopening of school sites until it is safe to do so. At a minimum, the CFT recommends coordination with state and local public health guidelines on every checklist item in this document to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Article Coronavirus

State Superintendent releases guidelines for reopening K-12 schools
For local discussion on safely reopening the education workplace

On June 8, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond released guidance for reopening K-12 schools — Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools.

This guidance was created through the statewide reopening schools task force that fostered a collaborative process for educators and stakeholders, including the CFT. 

Article Coronavirus AFT

Tell Congress to pass the HEROES Act!
Invest now to get America safely back to school and back to work

COVID-19 is triggering state and local budget crises across the nation. State and local governments are incurring huge new costs as they seek to contain and treat the coronavirus and respond to the virus-induced spike in joblessness and related human needs. At the same time, they are projecting sharply lower tax revenues due to the widespread collapse of economic activity brought about by efforts to contain the virus’ spread.

Article Coronavirus Up Front

The task of reopening brings challenge and hope
From the CFT President

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

In my communications with CFT members about school closures and sheltering in place during the past two months, I have often signed off, “Stay safe and take care.” For me, that is more than a convenient turn of phrase.

 As we enter into the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in the midst of a crisis unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, and when this story is retold years from now, I have no doubt it will be recorded as a turning point in history. I know most of you are, like me, tired, stressed, and worried.

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.

Article Part-time faculty Coronavirus

Relief for part-timers and their families during pandemic
Unemployment Insurance, housing, utilities, student loans

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, part-time faculty — beyond dealing with protecting the health and safety of themselves and their families — are facing threats to their economic security, including loss of income, access to health insurance, and their capacity to pay for housing and utilities.

It is essential part-timer faculty are aware of recent actions taken by the federal government and state of California to provide relief for people facing these challenges.

Article Coronavirus

Custodians on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic
Keeping campuses clean, supporting food service workers

On Friday, March 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to help slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus by keeping a “social distance” of six feet from each other.

School districts that were still operating suspended classes and college campuses emptied, but Newsom’s order continued full funding for public education and “essential” workers were told to report for work Monday.

Article Coronavirus

Food service workers whip up millions of Grab & Go meals
Classified employees essential to feeding kids during pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has forced school districts of all sizes to come to grips with the food insecurity their students face.

“In my entire life, I have never seen a medical crisis taken as seriously as this one,” said Carl Williams, head of the Lawndale Classified Employees Federation. “We’re now implementing options we have never discussed before, like shutting down classrooms and teaching online.”

Article Coronavirus

Health clerk looks back on early signs of pandemic
Veteran clerk teaches and practices good habits

For months, health clerk Cathy Pierce said, she and other school district staff heard about the coronavirus “like everyone else — bits of news and gossip.”

Pierce began to receive more credible information about COVID-19 and changes coming at all levels of government and education the week before Lawndale’s Mitchell Elementary shut in March. She has since come up the coronavirus learning curve, and now sees her work in a different light.

Article Coronavirus

CFT Tele-Townhall
March 18 – Townhall addresses COVID-19

More than 12,000 members were able to join one of the two CFT Tele-Townhall meetings held on March 18. Combined, the meetings were the largest gathering of CFT members ever.

You can listen to the CFT Tele-Townhall here! (The recording starts at the 12-second mark.) 

On the calls we received encouraging words from State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond, who offered his support and thanked CFT members. He also discussed the many efforts the governor’s office and the Department of Education are taking to support our schools.

Article Coronavirus Up Front

The Coronavirus, the CFT and You
From the CFT President

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

Over the past few days, our lives have changed significantly. There have been many fast moving coronavirus-related developments.

We will continue to work with decision-makers to protect you, your students, and your communities. With the situation continuing to develop quickly, we are doing our best to stay on top of it.

We want to provide as much information to our members as possible, but we hope not to overwhelm you with too much.