Dear Members, I wanted to start this President’s message with a thank you for the extraordinary work you are continuing to do each day. These are uniquely difficult times and most days it may feel to some of us that respecting the educators for how hard we work for our students was just an early pandemic fad. No matter who may be questioning what we do, how hard we work, and our commitment to our profession, please know that I recognize your diligence and your pain-staking devotion to showing up each day ready to the hard work it takes to teach in this current climate.
As you know on December 13th, our membership voted to ratify our contractual memorandum of agreement. I also want to thank you for supporting the hard work of the negotiations team. The team did their best to work to bring forward a contract that provided salary increases, new provisions for areas of our contract, and also protected our health insurance rates. We know our MOA and parts of our contract, in general, are far from perfect documents and don't always give everyone what they truly deserve but we believe this agreement opens doors on proposals that have been stagnant, and also rewards and recognizes some for the first time. I encourage you to fully review your entire contract with the new changes when it is made available. In January after the Farmingdale Board of Education is able to take action to approve the MOA, we will then be able to add the new proposals and share both digitally and on paper if possible.
Lastly, I want to take this time to wish you all a wonderful holiday break. However you choose to spend the break, I hope it is a time where you can enjoy yourself with family and friends and reflect on the blessings and even the trials of this year. I also recognize how difficult this season can be for some of us who are struggling with loss or the inability to be with those we love. I hope that in the new year you will find more joy and happiness. I look forward to seeing you all in January 2022.
There has been a slight spike in cases on Long Island and also obviously in our district. We know that most of these cases are not district spread and that this is a post-Thanksgiving spike. Before Thanksgiving, we were seeing district-wide cases of staff and students reported in the 20s, but last week we had over 50 cases. Statewide cases are up 58% and hospitalizations are up over 70% as of the day I am writing this message. I’m once again asking us to all be cognizant of the fact that masks are one of the best ways to mitigate the spread of the virus indoors especially in schools when we are in close contact. Whether vaccinated or unvaccinated we cannot be lax in wearing our masks or reminding students to wear them properly.
At this point it is still a state law for school buildings and although it is unpopular for some and tiring for most we need to be aware of this possible holiday surge when we return in January. We have members working with health accommodations, family members for whom contracting this virus could be deadly, and students who are also immunocompromised. I’m asking us to just all be considerate and empathetic of one another where this is concerned.