MSTA Executive Director Bruce Moe shares an update on MSTA’s repsonse to COVID-19.
These are unprecedented times. It seems almost cliche to say that, but it’s true. In just a few short weeks our world has been turned upside down. For example, who would have predicted that toilet paper would be in short supply and schools across the country would be closing for weeks or perhaps months. I know you have many things on your mind right now, but I wanted to take just a few minutes to let you know how MSTA is responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic. At the time of this video, 37 States have closed their schools. In Missouri, about 345 school districts have cancelled classes for some period of time with more announcing closures each day. MSTA believes that it is time for all Missouri school districts to be closed. To that end, we are asking the governor working closely with the Missouri department of elementary and secondary education to make this difficult but necessary decision closing schools raises many issues including what to do about the federally mandated high stakes testing.
To address that issue. I’ve sent a letter to us, secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, asking that the department waive the testing requirements for this year. I’ve also requested that our congressional delegation advocate for the testing waiver canceling these tests will accomplish two very important things. First, it will free up instructional time that would otherwise be spent preparing for and taking the tests. Students will need that instructional time when schools reopen. Second, if the tests occur shortly after schools reopen, our students will not be ready. The results will be meaningless and the testing will be yet one more unnecessary stress on students and teachers. We are also aware that closing schools raises many other questions and concerns. MSTA’s team of attorneys, member service coordinators and communication professionals are working together to prepare resources to support you. I encourage you to check the MSTA website at www.msta.org If you don’t find the answer to your question there, please email or call us at +1 800-392-0532 MSTA remains open and we are here to support you.
However, “here” is a moving target. While MSTA’s headquarters remains open. Many of our staff are now working remotely. Fortunately, technology makes it possible for us to serve you from just about anywhere. We are also developing contingencies in the event we are required to close the office. Rest assured if you call or email, we will be ready to serve you. In addition, MSTA is following the recommendations of the CDC and the Missouri department of health and human services. Regarding meetings. For example, we have cancelled our remaining regional Capitol visits and the Southwest FTA meeting. Many of our regions are also making difficult decisions regarding their spring events. Be sure to check the MSTA website for information about event cancellations and my 31 years at MSTA. I have never been more impressed by the generosity and care of Missouri’s teachers and other school staff. I see you caring about your kiddos as schools close wondering will they be safe, will they have enough to eat? I see you caring about your colleagues, helping each other, encouraging each other, and I see you generously offering to help parents with ideas and strategies to keep learning happening at home. It is our privilege to be your advocate in these uncertain times. We will get through this and when schools reopen, whether that is in three weeks or next fall, I know you will be there to greet your students and we will be here to support you. Stay safe, stay healthy, and Oh, don’t forget to wash your hands. Thank you.