Take Action for our Students

Take Action for our Students

In order to keep our students, school staff, and the entire AACPS community safe ahead of the fall semester, we must all make our voices heard. The AACPS Board of Education is voting on September 1 on Superintendent Dr. Arlotto’s safety guideline for all students and individuals in school buildings to be masked to hinder the spread of COVID-19, allowing for full in-person education to continue safely.

Your voice matters when it comes to your health and safety. Make sure the BOE knows that wearing a mask is important to our younger students and other vulnerable community members.

Below are examples of testimony you may edit and submit to the BOE starting at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, August 29. Here are brief details about the testimony:

EXAMPLE 1

Dear BOE members,

My name is _____, I am TITLE at SCHOOL.

While wearing a mask all day in school sounds unappealing, I still choose to wear my mask to reduce the spread of COVID, especially to those who are unvaccinated or are immunocompromised.

It is my role as an educator to model empathy and collective care for our young community members. We’re in this together. One life lost, is one life too many.

Please stand with Dr. Arlotto’s safety guidelines to ensure all individuals in school buildings wear masks to start the school year. It is a simple and effective mitigation strategy that helps keep us all safer.

EXAMPLE 2

Dear Board Members Corkadel, Ellis, and Frank,

My name is _____. I am a TITLE at SCHOOL. This fall, I was hoping to return to classrooms fully in person for a “normal” school year. Instead, I am faced with uncertain safety guidelines that put my health and the health of my loved ones at risk. I was disappointed by your blatant disregard for the measures that trusted health officials are saying must be followed at last week’s BOE meeting. As a member of the school board, I would hope that educators and students would be your top priority, OVER politics. I don’t believe you even considered the position that you put me and my fellow educators in as the people who will be enforcing safety guidelines for our students.

I wear my mask to keep my family safe, my neighbors safe, my students safe, and my fellow AACPS employees safe. Won’t you join me in wearing your mask too?

Mask wearing is one aspect of a wider system of mitigation strategies that prevent the spread of COVID in our schools. Please continue to support the safety guidelines put in place by Superintendent Dr. Arlotto, and encourage your fellow board members to continue drafting a plan that protects us all.

EXAMPLE 3

Dear Board members Omisore, Schallheim, Silkworth, and Tobin,

My name is _____. I am a TITLE at SCHOOL.

Thank you for standing with the science around safety protocols for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Educators have been calling for increased mitigation strategies, including mask wearing, to keep our entire AACPS community safe. We are grateful for your support of health and safety directives.

Moving forward, I hope educators will have a seat at the table when decisions are being made about the health and safety of our students, school staff, and all visitors in our buildings. We hope that you will prioritize incoming federal funding to help bolster our ability to continue in-person learning by updating HVAC systems and school building infrastructure, prioritizing a plan for testing, monitoring, reporting, and tracking cases of COVID-19, and ensuring opportunities to socially distance whenever possible.

Our #1 priority as educators this semester is the health of our community. We cannot recover from the pandemic if we do not ensure our students and school communities have the resources and safety guidelines they need.

Thank you again for your support of educators, students, families, and our community.

EXAMPLE 4

Dear Board President Ellis,

My name is _____. I am a TITLE at SCHOOL. This past year working for AACPS throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have proven myself a resilient, essential member of our community. I continued working with students and fellow educators while protecting the health and safety of my family and neighbors. This work was physically and emotionally taxing.

I am thrilled to be coming back for in-person learning this semester. We know this is the best place for our students. However, without clear safety guidelines, I am coming back feeling just as physically and mentally drained as I ended the spring semester. This, in combination with the potential of an extra evening of uncompensated work, tells me that the BOE does not respect me or the time I spend in our schools. The physical, mental, and financial wellbeing of our entire school staff must be the priority as we begin the semester.

Please, return to the bargaining table to discuss a full safety plan that prioritizes masking, monitoring cases, and keeps our entire AACPS community safe.

Submit your testimony here starting at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 29.