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2020-2021 Distance Learning MOU FAQ

How many instructional minutes are required at each grade level? 

New state requirements for Distance Learning require 180 instructional minutes for TK ans K, 230 minutes for grades 1-3, 240 minutes for grades 4-12 and 180 minutes for BTA. 

How can these minutes be provided?

These minutes can be provided by a combination of live online (synchronous) instruction and independent (asynchronous) work. On Wednesdays since there is little to no synchronous work, more independent work must be given. Any time for students that is not synchronous, must be asynchronous.

What happens if this MOU is not passed by a majority of BFT members? 

If this MOU is not passed, we will revert to our original contract language. This would impact prep time, the bell schedule, the calendar and various other parts of the contract that have been adjusted for a distance learning environment. We would not have the tech stipend and other safeguards we've negotiated. We can continue to bargain the impacts of distance learning but since the state has changed the law, the District can also impose contractual obligations to meet the new law (SB 98) if we are not making progress. 

Why do different grade levels have different amounts of online teaching?

This MOU tries to address the different developmental needs of students and their ability to engage with online learning. BFT relied on our surveys and consulted extensively with teachers at various grade levels to find the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous lessons. 

Why is the live teaching schedule so structured? We had a lot of flexibility in the spring. 

A more structured schedule serves several important purposes. Students and families will have more clarity about when their classes are held which should help with attendance. Students will have better access to Special Ed, ELD and intervention supports since those teachers will know when students are available. State law also changed making attendance mandatory which means synchronous sessions cannot overlap. 

What is the role of release time teachers (music, PE, art, dance, science)?

Release time teachers will provide live instruction. Full time teachers will teach 19 classes of 45 minutes per week. Release time teachers do not have responsibility for asynchronous lessons or parent contacts.  

What is my duty day?

The duty day remains 7 hours and 10 minutes. It begins at 8:00 am and ends at 3:10 pm. Counselors, full time Secondary Site TSAs and District TSAs have an eight hour duty day from 8:00 - 4:00 as is specified in the contract.

How do I calculate my part-time synchronous time as an elementary release teacher?

19 classes a week (855 minutes) is the equivalent of 1.0 FTE. You should multiply your FTE by 855. That will tell you how many minutes a week of online class. To figure out how many classes, divide by 45. You should work with your administrator to come up with a schedule that makes sense for your site and is around your total minutes per week. BFT will be following up with part time teachers to make sure schedules match duty days.

How does ELD work at elementary?

Designated ELD is considered intervention in this schedule. ELD teachers have a flexible day to meet the needs of your caseload based on your FTE. 

How many synchronous minutes should intervention teachers be providing?

Intervention teachers should work with their administrators to create a synchronous schedule based on caseload and FTE.

Who will get the $250 tech stipend? 

All BFT members who are responsible for teaching online should receive the tech stipend. This includes Adult School teachers. 

How are students assigned to the A/B groups? Is this up to the teacher?

Teachers will propose balanced groups of about half the class. Teachers will consult with administrators to ensure that students have access to ELD, Special Education and intervention supports.   

How are students assigned to equity based small groups?

The make up of these groups is up to the teacher. It may be necessary to keep the group rosters stable for certain periods of time to allow students to work with Special Ed or intervention teachers.   

Are we required to use Zoom for live classes? 

No. Teachers can use Zoom or Google Meet to conduct synchronous classes.

What happens if a teacher needs to be absent? How will substitute teachers be assigned? How will they get access to online classes? 

It’s not yet clear how this will work. BFT will work with subs to make sure BUSD creates a workable system and provides the training they need. 

What’s happening with child care? 

The state has granted waivers to school districts to provide employee childcare. When BUSD applied for a waiver, they were denied by Community Licensing because all child care applications are suspended by the Governer’s office based on current Covid numbers. BUSD will provide childcare as soon as this suspension is lifted. The plan right now is to offer childcare at all the sites. This is a licensing issue and not a financial issue for BUSD.

What happens if I can’t fulfill my teaching duties because of lack of childcare?

If you lack childcare because of a school or daycare closure, you would qualify for FFCRA Leave. This is 12 weeks of leave paid at ⅔ your daily rate for a maximum of $200 a day. You can use sick leave to make up the balance to make yourself ‘whole’. You can read about it here.

What if these schedules aren’t working? Will there be a chance to adjust them later?

BFT won a commitment from BUSD  to revisit all schedules during the first several weeks of instruction, with a possibility of revising them if needed. BFT will seek input from members at all levels. 

What happened to the idea of a later “staggered” start time for middle school and BHS?

Unfortunately, this innovative idea did not receive enough support from the parent or student communities. We will collect data and revisit this question after several weeks of school. 

Special Education teachers face extra challenges to provide and document services, do assessments, hold IEP’s and other elements of their jobs. How is this going to work?

Hard won provisions of our contract regarding caseloads and limits on assessments remain intact. There will likely be a backlog of assessments due to difficulties performing them online. This is a statewide problem that will likely require a legislative solution. Case managers will continue to use SEIS to document services as they did before. During the first two weeks of school, case managers will create Emergency Plans specifying which services can be provided during DIstance Learning. BFT will continue to work closely with Special Ed site reps and teachers to address issues as they arise. 

Why do first grade teachers have to provide so much asynchronous time? 

First grade is required by state law to have 230 instructional minutes but it's hard for young children to be on zoom as long as the older students. Therefore first graders have slightly less zoom time but more asynchronous assignments. On the graphic schedule, the pale color in the block that shows the last 15 minutes of the whole class meetings is optional. Once students have built their stamina to be able to use the full amount of online time they will need to do fewer minutes of asynchronous assignments. 

What are Foundational Lessons? How should teachers use them?

BUSD agreed to provide a set of pre-recorded lessons in the core content areas at the Elementary level. As of now, BUSD plans to provide reading, writing and phonics mini-lessons from TCRWP and math videos aligned to ASOU. Teachers can use these at their discretion. For example, they can be assigned as asynchronous learning, used to pre-teach or reinforce lessons the teacher delivers in live sessions, offered to children who were absent from a live lesson, used as PD for teachers seeking to improve online lessons, used to explain curriculum to caregivers who are supporting their children at home, used to help grade level teams stay aligned with each other, included in sub plans, and other uses that teachers discover. 

What happens if I am sick and cannot teach a class?

BFT is still working with the District to create a plan for daily subs. This should be resolved soon.

What happens if I can’t fulfill my teaching duties because of lack of childcare?

If you lack childcare because of a school or daycare closure, you would qualify for FFCRA Leave. This is 12 weeks of leave paid at ⅔ your daily rate for a maximum of $200 a day. You can use sick leave to make up the balance to make yourself ‘whole’. You can read about it here.

For Secondary, do I have to update Iluminate? Can I just do it at report cards?

Yes. The contractual obligation of every two weeks is still in effect. Google Classroom is not a substitute for Illuminate and is not integrated into the Learning Management System. Parents don't have access to Classroom and Google Classroom cannot to HOW grades (middle school) or weight categories.

When should I use Remind?

Remind should be used when you call or text parents. It masks your phone number so parents will not have your personal cell number. This is an important privacy issue. Also, Remind logs calls and texts. As part of the new state law on distance learning, proof of family communication is necessary to receive state funding. Using Remind avoids having to keep a separate log of contacts. You do not need to use Remind for email.

Updated 8/20/20