With the shutdown of our schools, I know that many people have questions. Here is what the HTA is working on and has been concentrating on over the past few days.
1. The Union and administration are in constant contact. There has never been a lapse in communication between the two parties.
2. Two weeks ago, we urged the Governor and other elected officials to close schools to protect students and members. Clearly the message was heard.
3. Remote teaching is a challenge for us all, but HTA is working with administration to ensure that it works.
4. The District has done a good job communicating to parents each step of the way. They have made any changes in programs and services very clear. They have also done an effective job of communicating the availability of meals and day care.
5. If we all stick to the quarantine and follow social distancing advice, we can all do our part to stop the spread and flatten the curve. By listening to authorities, by staying home and limiting exposure, we are doing our part to stop this virus.
6. Testing centers have been set up at Jones Beach and Stony Brook University. The site will operate from 8AM to 8PM by APPOINTMENT ONLY. First, call 1-888-364-3065 to schedule an appointment and be pre-screened over the phone. If you suspect that you may have been exposed, please contact your primary care doctor to get checked out.
7. All school districts across Suffolk County, Long Island, the state, and the nation are handling things differently. Thankfully we have collective bargaining, so we are at the table every step of the way.
8. It is important that we all remain calm and positive. especially with little ones at home listening. They may not understand what's happening, but they do sense our anxiety and fear. This will eventually pass, and normalcy will return.
9. You may have heard in the past radio and Pandora ads from Long Island Teachers that say "Long Island Teachers.org, Teacher leaders in the Community." Your neighbors may be looking to you for leadership in this trying time. Understand what you do and say has ramifications and can impact their thoughts and feelings. Their employment uncertainty can lead to feelings of resentment, but ensure them that you are diligently working to ensure your students educational needs are addressed.
10. I am proud of all of you for being so diligent during these times. There is an old saying; "Tough times don't last, but tough people do."This pandemic will bring out best in us. We will become closer as family and as a community, and out of the bad, will come some good. While our downtown areas may not be bustling, we are all looking out for each other. Look for the positives, keep calm and carry on. Our profession warrants that response.