September 30, 2021
JFT President Responds to New LDOE Policy on COVID-19 Quarantines
Below is an open letter from JFT President Kesler Camese Jones to Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. James Gray. It was written in response to a new policy released by the Louisiana Department of Education on September 29th, which would eliminate the requirement that students exposed to COVID-19 quarantine before returning to school.
Dear Dr. James Gray,
Yesterday, the Louisiana Department of Education released a dangerous new COVID-19 policy which could eliminate the quarantine requirement for students exposed to COVID-19. I hope that as a district we will continue to follow the science when dealing with this deadly disease, which has already claimed the lives of over 1,100 people in Jefferson Parish alone. We all want to see our children in school and learning, but we cannot prioritize a child’s test scores over their health, or the health of our educators and their families.
This new policy will immediately increase the spread of COVID-19 in schools, which will have a ripple effect throughout the community. Now, as we work to recover from Hurricane Ida and many of our school buildings remain damaged, it is especially important that we prioritize safety. We cannot sit by and allow more children and their teachers to get sick when it can be avoided. As a COVID survivor myself, I understand how dangerous this virus is and I cannot watch more people needlessly get sick and potentially die.
On behalf of the children, and their parents and grandparents, together with all their family members who are vulnerable, and on behalf of the dedicated educators, and their parents and family members who are vulnerable, we call upon you as the leader of our school district to oppose this new policy and continue to follow the recommendations of the Louisiana Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. These proven practices have helped to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and has kept our students and staff safe. The wellbeing of staff and students should be the top priority as Jefferson Parish deals with the unprecedented circumstances of the past 18 months and continues to persevere through future challenges.
Kesler Camese-Jones, President
Jefferson Federation of Teachers
From the Lawyer's Desk
We strongly recommend you call the union. If you're about to be accused of something, you have rights. If you're going to be told that you're going to be suspended or sent home or placed on leave, you have rights. If you are a JFT member, call the union.
Hardship Relief Grants for JFT Members
JFT members impacted by Hurricane Ida can apply for Hardship Relief Grants from AFT to help offset some of the cost incurred as a result of the storm. If you are a member who experienced damage to your home or property, you may qualify for a Hardship Relief Grant.
Applications are due October 1st.
Union Plus Disaster Relief
JFT members who participate in particular Union Plus programs may be eligible to receive a $500 disaster relief grant that doesn’t have to be repaid. In order to qualify, you must be a union member participating in either the Union Plus Credit Card, the Teamster Privilege Credit Card, Union Plus Mortgage, Union Plus Life/Accident, Union Plus Auto Insurance, Union Plus Personal Loan or Union Plus Retiree Healthcare. To learn more visit: unionplus.org
Hurricane Ida School Site Follow Up
If any of your classroom items are missing or have been damaged due to Hurricane Ida, please make a list of your items with a brief description (and pictures if you have them) and submit those to your principal. Also, retain a copy for your records.
Please continue to use our survey to report the conditions of your school and your equipment. Click here to take a brief survey.