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BTU Update #1: Taking a Stand for our Students’ Safety


Dear members,

Last week’s press conference from Governor Hogan and State Superintendent Karen Salmon was disappointing but not surprising. The leadership we need from state leaders has been missing for years, as our schools have remained under-resourced in the long term, and lacking comprehensive safety guidance in the short term. Below, you will find a full statement on behalf of the BTU to the Governor’s proposal, as well as important district updates to keep you informed.

Additionally, we have reached an important milestone in negotiations and have reached agreement with the district on an important and time sensitive issue!! Teachers and paraeducators shall be granted either 1 full day or 2 half days during school-based professional development to visit their classrooms to retrieve classroom materials AND set up classroom space in their homes. All school visits are VOLUNTARY, and each school is required to follow safety protocols and social distancing measures. After staff access the buildings, each worksite should be cleaned according to the safety protocols.

In solidarity,

President Brown

Governor Hogan is offering a $10 million grant for districts that open school buildings at the same time as the start of the second wave of COVID-19, and Baltimore City Public Schools seems to be leaning towards embracing the Governor’s bribe. With 79,187 students in BCPSS, this is the equivalent of approximately $127 per student. Considering estimates to reopen schools nationally call for anywhere between $1,800-$3,500 per student in order to meet safety guidelines, and Baltimore City’s annual underfunding of $350,000,000, Governor Hogan’s offer is completely insufficient. We stand with PCAB, the Parent and Community Advisory Board, who aptly summarized the situation by saying, “Instead of fulfilling the constitutional duty to adequately fund all Maryland schools, he decided to bait an already underfunded school district with financial incentives to reopen schools by the end of the first grading period. Let us be clear – Baltimore City students and families are not for sale.”

The Baltimore Teachers Union urges the Baltimore City Public School Board Commissioners (school board) to reject Governor Hogan’s bribe. By accepting such a bribe district leadership would be prioritizing the potential for slightly improved standardized test scores over the actual lives of our students and the people who live with and love those children.

The same Governor that vetoed billions of dollars of Kirwan education funding, and encouraged President Trump to take a militarized response to Black Lives Matter protests, is offering a pittance for districts to reopen (by the end of the first quarter), risking perpetuating the spread of the virus further and faster. BCPSS staff that are currently working in buildings continue to communicate that the safety protocols that are being implemented in the school buildings are insufficient to keep them safe. There is not enough custodial staff to carry out the cleaning protocols, unqualified staff members are being asked to do temperature checks and health screenings, and frontline workers aren’t even clear on the process for reporting that they contracted coronavirus. Administrators and other district staff need more time to improve and implement safety protocols correctly, even just for small numbers of people in the buildings. In order to get a fully virtual 1st semester, we need the school board to vote for a fully virtual 1st semester. We understand that our school board voting for a fully virtual 1st semester is contrary to what our Governor desires; we support this opposition. Our school board needs to be advocating for the needs of the students, educators, and community members of Baltimore City, even when it’s in opposition to the Governor.

We all want our children to thrive. But in order to do that, they need to survive this pandemic. Families, teachers, PSRPs, and community members see the threats to Baltimore’s children clearly because to us they are more than a test score. We know who is for us and who is against us, and we will continue to remind the school board of the Baltimore City Public Schools of their obligation, first and foremost, to the safety of our children. We are encouraging all members of the BTU to:

  • Email the school board to demand a fully virtual first semester and to reopen school buildings only when it’s safe in real life, not just on paper

  • Demand a working and compatible laptop you need to do your job, and do not expose student data or your own personal device to risk

  • Do not conduct virtual learning in school buildings from your classrooms until we can be sure that safety procedures are established and being properly implemented for every school in the district

Together we can fight back and keep our students, families and communities safe.


District Updates

  • BTU is urging all members not to use their personal devices, such as laptops and tablets for work and online instruction. Using your personal devices puts student data and privacy at risk, and carries no legal protection to members whose devices may be compromised due to hacking. Members who have access to special education information (so in essence, anyone engaged in instruction or related services) are encouraged to request a device from their supervisor and not use their personal device in the meantime.

  • Similarly, BTU is also encouraging members to not work from school buildings in order to access high speed internet. We have received too many accounts from members of buildings where safety protocols are not being adequately implemented. Working from buildings puts your health at risk, as well as the health of the workers who are required to be there, and it send the message to the district that teachers and PSRPs support reopening buildings.

  • The first paycheck of the year for 10-month employees will be issued on September 4th and will consist of 3 days of pay.


Members! The Baltimore Teachers Union would like to send every member a Back to School welcome package that includes a BTU shirt! Please update your contact information in this survey so we can mail it to your home address.

We are asking for your personal email address so we can send you sensitive information and materials from the Baltimore Teachers Union instead of sending it to your work email that is owned and can be viewed by BCPSS. Having accurate membership data makes us a more powerful union that is better able to communicate with, inform, and organize our members.
Thank you for your assistance and for all that you do! Together we are stronger! Get ready to wear your yellow shirt in solidarity!

Fill out the survey here!































Members! You can now see the visual notes from the monthly LisTEN Event with President Brown, as well as minutes from BTU Executive Board meetings. Instructions for securely accessing this information was sent to members personal email address, if we have one for you on file. For information about how to access the members only section of the website, please email


Based on the requests from new teachers from the SY2019-2020, the BTU New Teacher Steering Committee created a private page on the BTU website to host our Instructional Toolbox, a resource site with links to educator topics such as observations and how to document as a special educator. This page is password protected, and since this message goes to several members’ work email addresses, we cannot share it here. Please email from your personal email account for the password. Please peruse our experienced teachers’ videos and resources as well as start a discussion and ask questions about the topics. Since we just posted this private page, please let us know if you have any difficulties accessing the resources.


The Census is available online and does not take long to complete. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020.

Please click here to complete the Census today!



The BTU Private Facebook Group is almost at 3,000 members!! (Nine more to go!)

Click here to join the discussion!