One of the most important bills that we will hear in this abbreviated legislation is Senate Bill 31 by Senator Cleo Fields. If passed, this bill would prohibit the use of statewide student assessments conducted during the 2020-2021 school year from being used to evaluate teacher performance. Essentially, schools could (and likely would) still have testing this year, but the scores couldn't count against a teacher's performance evaluation.
School buildings cannot open for in-person instruction until the below conditions are met:
- Community transmission of COVID-19 is under control in the region;
- There is a public health infrastructure to support effective disease surveillance, tracing and isolation in schools;
- Staff who are at high risk have access to special accommodations;
- The district and school have funded safeguards and implemented protocols, including physical distancing, face coverings, access to hand-washing facilities, cleaning supplies, and updates to ventilation and;
- AFT members and leaders, families and community partners are included in the reopening planning process.
LFT has conducted a comprehensive survey to evaluate the concerns of educators and community members with regards to schools reopening later this summer. LFT received responses from nearly 15,000 teachers, support staff, parents, students and concerned community members regarding the reopening of schools. The survey was conducted electronically between June 30-July 10, 2020 and distributed widely through various online platforms.
LFT has partnered with our national affiliate, American Federation of Teachers to bring 30,000 masks to Louisiana teachers and school staff. These masks were donated to LFT by the United States Heartland China Association and the Wanxiang Group.
Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has plagued frontline workers throughout the pandemic, which is why LFT and our partners are making these free masks available to any member who needs one. Please contact your local affiliate to get your mask or learn about their individual distribution plan.
Until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, each community is going to need support in charting a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.
The AFT’s detailed, science-based “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” features five core pillars based on the science as well as educator and healthcare expertise—not on politics or wishful thinking.