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Member Action Needed! #ResultsToReturn


Dear Members,

As we enter a new year amid rising Covid infection rates, the return to school buildings for in-person instruction is cause for a high degree of concern among BTU members, students, families, and community members. My heart goes out to the many individuals and families currently fighting Covid, and those who are currently experiencing quarantine or isolation.

For many, including myself, the news that the CDC is reducing quarantine guidelines was disturbing, given widespread hospital staffing shortages. This news was coupled with the decision by the Baltimore City Public School System to resume in-person learning before all students have a negative Covid test result. The choice to not test students before they return from Winter Break creates unnecessary health risks, confusion and a lack of information when people need and deserve transparency.  

After hearing from many members, parents, and students, we believe that in order to restart in-person learning safely, BCPSS must implement a #ResultsToReturn policy, with all students and staff producing a negative Covid test before returning to in-person learning.

Requiring a negative test before students return:

  • Empowers City Schools leadership to know the updated state of health in the schools. Despite Omicron’s impact, 2021 holiday travel returned to pre-pandemic levels and state and local governments declined to implement shutdowns. City Schools leadership needs time to fully understand the impact of the holiday season on transmission rates.
  • Ensures the lowest possible Covid exposure and transmission. The week before Winter Break saw an unprecedented number of students and staff exposures to Covid, leading several schools to transition to virtual learning. If schools are to remain in-person, we need strong protective measures that can create a meaningful distinction between school spread and community spread.
  • Increases transparency and builds trust between the school system and families. The City Schools Covid dashboard regularly conflicts with the notifications school staff receive about positive Covid cases in their school buildings, with many confirmed cases never reaching the dashboard. Expanding testing to a requirement for in-person learning will allow families and staff to make informed decisions for their health, which is and should be, their right.

With in-person learning scheduled to start this Wednesday, January 5th, there is a limited time to amplify these demands and make our voices heard. I am calling on BTU members, students, families, and community members to utilize this member-created toolkit to pressure public officials to require #ResultsToReturn. Please email, call, and tag officials on social media (you can find contact and social media information for officials here). You can use these social media posts for inspiration, or create a 1-2 minute video and share it using the hashtag #ResultsToReturn.

City Schools leadership and our elected officials need to hear from you. The #ResultsToReturn Toolkit also includes a member created surveyimages and sample language you can use to amplify our calls for safety. Check out the survey results so far below, as well as the #ResultsToReturn video from BTU Teacher Chapter Secretary and High School Math Teacher Jocelyn Providence. Please share the video, and find prompts for your own video here.

Supporting this action can be as simple as downloading the image featured in this email and posting it to your social media accounts, but I hope and strongly encourage each person reading this email to directly contact the elected officials that serve you, (find them here, and their contact info here) to let them know about the issues, challenges, fears, and impacts this decision has on you, Baltimore City’s students and our community. You can modify this sample script in your outreach to elected officials

In solidarity,

President Diamonté Brown