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October 22, 2020 Negotiations Update

Negotiations Update: October 22, 2020

Health and Safety Agreement Reached

BFT and BUSD have reached agreement on a detailed and extensive baseline set of measures to protect the health and safety of all members in all job categories who may eventually work with students in person.

These agreements are the minimum standards that will be applied to any future phases of re-opening. Not all of these elements are in place as of yet, and no reopening will occur until every single requirement of this MOU has been met. There are no agreements in place about any reopening phase at this time. We will continue to negotiate additional specific health and safety standards, as well as schedules and working conditions, as they pertain to each phase. 

The agreement ensures that every member will get Essential Protective Equipment (including masks, gloves, gowns and face shields). All staff and students over the age of 5 will be required to wear masks at all times, and those under the age of 5 will be encouraged to wear masks indoors. Sanitizing and disinfecting practices are established and supplies will be provided. 

Physical distancing will be required and classroom capacity will reflect the actual amount of usable space in the room. Non-essential visitors will be prohibited. 

All work areas will have air purifiers and adequate ventilation. In-person classes will be canceled when the air quality reaches unhealthy levels such that windows cannot be opened. 

The plan includes protocols for testing, screening, contact tracing and reporting, including universal testing before employees return to sites plus ongoing surveillance testing. All staff and students will complete a daily screening. Anyone displaying symptoms will not be allowed on campus. Isolation rooms for students who become ill during the school day will maintain stringent safety procedures. Any employee that wants a test will be able to obtain one within 24-48 hours. Student testing protocols will be negotiated prior to each phase of reopening. 

Members who are required to quarantine due to work related illness or exposure will not face any loss of income and will not be required to use any sick days. 

You can view the full Health and Safety MOU here.


Upcoming Negotiations and BFT Strategy

The Health and Safety MOU did not include any reference to rates of community spread, to a mass testing program for students or to any particular dates for any phase of reopening. This is an intentional approach. Our strategy has been to secure BUSD’s commitment to the health and safety procedures and policies included in the MOU before beginning to discuss any actual reopening. 

It is BFT’s position that the community transmission rates need to be low, and stable or declining, before reopening school sites. At our October 8th meeting, the BFT Executive Board adopted a resolution which calls for BUSD to follow guidelines derived from the Harvard Global Health Institute report, specifically: a rate of less than 4 new daily cases for each zip code in Alameda county; a positive test ratio of 3% or less for each zip code in the county; and an RO of less than 1 for the county. This resolution will guide BFT in future negotiations about all phases of reopening.

Further, BFT will advocate strongly for frequent and universal student testing as a condition for each phase of reopening. Those plans will vary depending on the number of students proposed for each phase. Our view is that this topic is best addressed in the specific context of each phase. 

Finally, BUSD continues to propose “target” dates for Phase 1 and 2 reopening. These dates are completely dependent on meeting the requirements of the MOU and on negotiations about schedules and working conditions for teachers working in either of those phases. Potential Phase 1 small cohort and 1:1 services will be provided only by staff who voluntarily opt in to participate. The district has made it clear that the amount of services they will be able to offer is dependent on the number of staff who opt-in. BFT will vigorously defend members from any pressure to opt in. 

Making a transition from Distance Learning to a possible wider “hybrid” reopening in elementary schools will be incredibly complex. It will take time to figure out the details of how to serve students both in person and online.  Our plan is to negotiate in good faith with BUSD about how Phase 1 and 2 would work so that we have strong protections and reasonable schedules and working conditions in place if and when our community context actually allows a safe reopening. 

Here is the speech that BFT Vice President, Janine Waddell gave at the October 21 School Board meeting about BFT’s view of the path ahead.



Elementary Report Cards 

The report cards are now open in Illuminate. Elementary report cards will be due by 8:00 a.m. on the day of each student's conference. If you finish report cards early, please notify your principal. 

Calendar Clarifications

Due to schedule changes around trimester 1 and elementary conferences, elementary students are now off of school on Friday, November 20. This has been communicated to families. This is an all day conference day for teachers. If elementary teachers finish conferences before this date, Friday, November 20 becomes a day off.

October 30 is a non- school day for secondary students and a non- duty day for secondary educators. 

The complete MOU  (signed October 13) on report cards and conferences can be found here.


For information or to offer comments please contact BFT Vice President Janine Waddell at

This Negotiations Update was prepared by BFT Treasurer Cynthia Allman and edited by the BFT Negotiations Team.