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The Summer Newsletter

— SUMMER 2021 —

BACK TO SCHOOL

It’s hard to believe that summer is already ending. Many districts had expanded summer school options for students who struggled through the pandemic-year. This left many educators with even less time to recuperate from an especially exhausting year. But as always, the prospect of a new school year brings excitement and opportunity.
 
LFT staff are preparing to greet new and returning educators at orientations and back to school events all over the state. If you are already a member of the Federation, make sure to check in with your Local representatives at these events so that you can get all the most up-to-date information about your membership and back-to-school goodies. If you aren’t already a member of the Federation, you’re missing out. Make sure to look for us at your orientation to learn more about all that membership has to offer!
 

COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS

 
Back to school time is always stressful, but this year teachers, school employees and parents are wrestling with the added concern of COVID-19, as the Delta variant surges through Louisiana. Last year, at the direction of the legislature, BESE set rules regarding COVID-19 protocols that all school systems were required to follow. However, those rules have expired. There is no longer legislation requiring school districts to enact particular safety standards, but the Louisiana Department of Education has released guidelines, intended to inform policy and procedures in local school districts, designed to keep everyone safe.
 
Last year, these mitigation efforts did help to limit COVID-19 spread in the schools, but this year we have a new tool that can help contain the spread and keep school employees safe: the COVID-19 vaccines. Unfortunately, this horrible pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 600,000 Americans, will continue to linger over us until enough people have chosen to vaccinate themselves.
 
This vaccine is available to everyone in Louisiana ages 12 and older. If you are still considering whether or not to get vaccinated, here are some ways to learn more:
 

LEGISLATIVE VETO SESSION

 
This year’s legislative session ended on Thursday, June 10th at 6 P.M. after almost nine weeks of fast-paced and often contentious debate. Throughout the session, LFT tracked hundreds of bills and sent our members and affiliate leaders regular updates with the most important information. You can catch up on some of the most hot-button issues impacting teachers and school employees here.
 
As usual, the Governor vetoed certain pieces of legislation after the session and published his reasoning and thought process behind these decisions. What was unusual, is that after seeing the Governor’s vetoes, the legislature decided to convene a veto session to consider overriding the veto on certain legislation. The Louisiana legislature has not convened a veto session in recent history. You can read more about the process for calling a veto session and how it works here.
 
On July 21st, the 2021 Veto Session ended after only two days, adjoining sine die early. During this tense veto session, legislators failed to override any of the Governor's vetoes. You can read more about the session itself here.
 

REVIEW YOUR BENEFITS

 
As an LFT member you have access to all of the AFT+ Member Benefits as well as Union Plus benefits. This can save you thousands of dollars a year on the things you already need. Don’t miss out! Take advantage of all that your LFT membership has to offer. Whether it’s shoes, scholarships, books, insurance, or even travel needs, AFT+ Member Benefits has you covered. Click here to learn more!
 
 
AFT TEACH
 

This year, AFT’s annual TEACH Conference was held virtually again. LFT affiliates participated alongside thousands of educators from across the country. Together we took part in engaging workshops and listened to inspiring speakers. The conference lasted five days and focused on how to move forward after such a difficult year for educators and students alike. If you missed the conference, you can still watch the keynote live streams here.