MTA President Merrie Najimy and Vice President Max Page sent the following message to members today
Because of the pressure you applied — creatively, relentlessly and with passion — preK-12 school employees will be eligible for vaccines through the state system starting March 11. You can also try as of now to make an appointment via CVS, though availability is very limited. You can find more details about the new system here, and we will alert you about major updates. Winning educator eligibility was truly a collaborative effort. We greatly appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from other unions, local school committees and dozens of state legislators, as well as the leadership shown by Speaker of the House Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka. The directive on Tuesday from President Joe Biden pushed us over the top.
Last Mile Update
Eligibility is one thing. Being able to get a critical mass of employees from a particular district vaccinated at about the same time — with maximum efficiency for educators and minimal disruption to the student day — is another. That’s why we are continuing to push for our Last Mile Vaccine Delivery program and to develop others that follow the same principles. Last Mile would bring the vaccine to you in your districts, quickly and efficiently. We are also continuing to push for public higher education employees to be eligible since they, too, provide an essential service and are at risk when working in person. Keep up the public awareness and advocacy by taking and posting Rosie the Riveter-style images like these at the top of our Facebook page.
COVID-19 Facebook Live Meeting Tonight
While the announcement shows us there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we aren’t through the tunnel yet. We are holding the next in our series of member COVID-19 & Schools health and safety meetings tonight to talk about some recent developments. New information will be presented, including some from a health expert whose research shows that there are far more coronavirus cases in our schools than is apparent from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Forced Return Vote Friday
Lastly, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to vote tomorrow afternoon on the Baker administration’s proposed regulatory change for a forced return to schools starting in April. Although we all want more in-person learning and expect that vaccine eligibility will accelerate that process, the MTA is opposed to the state imposing such a mandate, overriding locally developed plans and in disregard of local conditions. Go here to let state officials know how you feel about this plan.
The situation changes by the day — and sometimes by the hour. We know that many of you are exhausted. Just know that you have done an amazing job of keeping the needs of students, educators and our communities front and center. And it’s working. Union power is growing. Let’s keep at it until we can all be back in our schools and on our campuses safely to support, teach and nurture our students.