SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT CARTER:
This year, “back-to-school” is unlike anything we’ve ever faced. Some of you are in the classroom, some aren’t. Many students still don’t know when they may return to a school building. Perhaps what’s most frustrating, is that too many school districts left their planning to the last minute, leaving teachers, support staff, parents, and students scrambling.
All over the state, teachers and support staff have come together to demand safety for their students and in their schools. Whether it’s lobbying BESE, speaking out at local School Board Meetings, talking to journalists, or participating in socially-distanced protests, educators have found ways to make their voices heard. I’m so proud of the solidarity and passion I have seen from LFT members in these last few months. Your compassion, dedication, and wherewithal knows no bounds and you have truly made an impact on the lives of your students and their families.
Without the dedicated work of LFT members, many school districts would have no COVID-19 safety protocols at all. Because we came together to demand action from the state, BESE set minimum safety standards for all school districts in July. Because of the work you have done on the Local level, many school districts have gone above and beyond those minimum standards, including delaying the reopening of school, to ensure adequate time to implement new protection measures and/or see a decrease in community spread.
But our work is not done. We need to continue to monitor our schools and districts to ensure that safety protocols are properly implemented and that they continue to be properly implemented. We know too well how common it is to see our schools well stocked with essential materials at the beginning of the year, only to be barren a few months in. As long as COVID-19 continues to plague our communities, schools must have every available resource to combat spread in our classrooms.
Please continue to monitor the situation in your schools and report any safety violations using this online form. Furthermore, if you or your colleagues are directed to quarantine, please let us know that as well.
Additionally, we continue to ask the U.S. Senate to provide states and local governments with the funding we need to pay for these heightened safety measures. The HEROES Act would provide Louisiana with $1.5 billion in education funding, $8.6 billion in direct aid to states and $4.7 in direct aid to local governments, and $1.9 billion in Medicaid funding.
To help get this passed, please call your legislators and post on social media using the hashtags #DemandSafeSchools and #DontForfeitOurFuture.
On top of everything else we’ve faced this year; Louisiana is also forced to deal with the devastating impact of Hurricane Laura. This historic storm tore into Southwest Louisiana, right through Ouachita. It killed 16 people and left countless others with damaged homes and a long road to recovery.
During the storm, LFT reached out via text to members in the affected areas to check in and make sure everyone was alright. In order to ensure we have the most up to date contact information for emergencies like this, please make sure to update your contact info with your Local representatives.
LFT has been working with leaders in our Locals most damaged in the storm to provide information and supplies, when possible. If you live in Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Ouachita, Vermilion, or Vernon parishes and your home was damaged in the storm, please check out these relief resources compiled by AFT.
Regardless of your political preferences, all Americans have a vested interest in the integrity of our elections. This year, America is facing a record shortage of poll workers due to the coronavirus. Our democracy depends on ordinary people who make sure elections run smoothly and everyone's vote is counted. You can make sure we have a safe, fair, efficient election for all. Please think about signing up to work in your local polling office this election day.
Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!