MTI Board of Directors Statement Supporting MMSD Staff Vaccination Mandate & Increased Mitigation // News // Uncategorized // August 30th, 2021

August 30, 2021

MTI Board of Directors Statement in support of MMSD staff vaccination mandate and increased mitigation measures for school/workplace safety

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Madison Teachers Inc. continues to advocate for maximum enforcement of layered safety mitigation and encourages eligible individuals to be vaccinated. MTI members overwhelmingly agree that MMSD staff should share proof of their COVID-19 vaccination to the employer, or be subject to weekly testing. Our Union supports maintaining the highest level of public safety for all MMSD students and staff.

Earlier this year, MTI called on local and state officials to prioritize vaccines for workers who must work directly with others and to provide adequate funding for vaccines and other protective measures. This action protected lives. (March 1, 2021 Statement) We remain committed to ensuring our schools are safe places for students to learn, thrive, and lead healthy lives. As educators, we model positive behaviors all the time – one way is by taking the responsibility of our students’ safety with the utmost prioritization, being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus is the strongest weapon in our arsenal to combating this virus.

MTI has been a part of the weekly discussions between the District, Dane County Public Health and UW Public Health experts. While we’re pleased that the District is adhering to the science and enforcing mandatory masking for everyone in school buildings, we know that due to overcrowded hallways and classrooms, the highly transmittable “Delta Variant”, and the fact that our children under the age of 12 still are not eligible for vaccination, could lead to potentially dangerous outcomes for our students, staff and our community. And much like our collective understanding and strategies to combat COVID have been evolving since February 2020, we need to continue a commitment to make our decisions based on the best science and research combined with the realities of what’s going on in our schools instead of what we hope would happen.

Which is why it’s essential that our elected MTI representatives are working with their building administrators to hold walkthroughs and develop building and classroom-specific mitigation strategies prior to our children returning in September. Especially for building administrators who will be new to our buildings, having MTI Faculty Reps who have a deep understanding of our spaces is going to be crucial to keep everyone as safe as possible.

As educators and educational support professionals, we are very excited to see our kids back in our buildings and spaces after this summer! Building relationships with our students and helping them grow into the amazing people they will be is what sustains us through all the difficulties we’ve experienced together as a community. While we’re confident we can resolve safety issues around social distancing and safety protocols at a school or classroom level – we must do whatever it takes to ensure the maximum preservation of life, health and safety of our students, families, and colleagues as the highest priority. Students’ learning conditions are our working conditions. The bond of Solidarity within our community to successfully address the many challenges we face has never been stronger.