Sisters and Brothers,
Just about 200 members came attended today’s virtual general membership meeting on reopening schools. Members were engaged in a thoughtful and deliberative conversation about the many challenges that reopening poses and what it is that we as educators need not only to feel safe in the physical work space but to have the resources and support necessary to work effectively from home, while it’s still necessary. Prior to debating our local platform members voted to endorse the MTA Board of Directors’ position on reopening. You can review it for yourself here.
In addition to endorsing the MTA position, members also debated and adopted a local bargaining platform. I want to thank the members of the bargaining team who met last Friday to draft these proposals, as well as everyone who participated in the meeting and contributed to discussions that led to the final draft below. This platform will be the basis for language proposals, many of which will come from today’s conversation as well, that the Bargaining Team will present to the School Committee at the negotiating table.
The thing that is most obvious to all, is that the more we learn about the coronavirus, the more people’s attitudes and opinions about reopening are changing. The results of the latest survey are available here (and here is the initial survey for you to compare it to).
So the bargaining team can continue to monitor for trends and any changes that may come with new scientific information being released daily, please take our latest survey as well.
Finally, our Action Team is going to meet this Wednesday, August 5th at 4pm to begin work on an action plan to support our baragaining platform. If you signed up to be on the Action team will receive an invite tomorrow. If you did not sign up, but would like to participate, reply to this email and we’ll get you the information you need to join.
HEA Reopening Platform
- Negotiations must take place in open sessions of the School Committee.
- All ESPs must keep their current employment status (same hours, school/population, etc.) whenever possible.
- Building secretaries need plexiglass to protect them when working with students and the public.
- A district-wide Joint Stakeholder Coronavirus Response Team must be formed to review Covid conditions and recommend modifications to the reopening plan as needed during the year.
- Learning must resume through a phased in reopening of school from full remote, to hybrid, to 100% in-person based on science and public health benchmarks, including an eventual end to the Remote Learning Academy when Covid-19 is considered no longer a substantial public health threat according to trusted public health officials and the Joint Stakeholder Coronavirus Response Team.
- All buildings must be assessed via our Environmental Health & Safety standards and a plan must be in place to correct all deficiencies. No building will be reopened until these standards are met in every building district-wide.
- Adequate PPE (varying by position) must be provided and paid for by the District and/or state, until Covid-19 is considered no longer a substantial public health threat as determined by the Joint Stakeholder Coronavirus Response Team.
- Daily maintenance and cleaning protocols must be established and followed as recommended by a district Environmental Health and Safety Committee using OSHA and the latest information from trusted public health officials. Cleaning checklists will be maintained and posted in each building in conspicuous places throughout the building such as bathrooms, classrooms, hallways, and other high-traffic areas for all to see. The EH&S committee will include at least one representative from each building.
- The District must hire more nurses to meet the National Association of School Nurses recommended ratios of “a formula-based approach with minimum ratios of nurses-to-students depending on the needs of the student populations as follows: 1:750 for students in the general population, 1:225 in the student populations requiring daily professional school nursing services or interventions, 1:125 in student populations with complex health care needs, and 1:1 may be necessary for individual students who require daily and continuous professional nursing services.”
- District-wide protocols for dealing with Covid-19 exposure, including establishing monitored isolation rooms, testing (including temperature checks), and contact tracing. Staff and students showing any symptoms must immediately be evaluated by a school nurse. These tasks are not to be performed by HEA members.
- All/most standardized tests must be suspended, excluding baseline assessments, as determined by educators and/or the Joint Coronavirus Response Team.
- All students and staff, including paraprofessionals, must have access to appropriate technology to fulfill their roles and responsibilities, including access to reliable and adequate internet service, provided by the district when necessary. Educators must have access to their classrooms and other materials as needed.
- Educators should have the option to teach remotely, at their discretion, and to use their classrooms in order to plan, deliver, and supervise remote learning, when necessary.
- Districts must provide support to students, families, and staff to set up and use technology required for remote learning and teaching. Support and training should be available in languages other than English that reflect the diverse family populations of the district. Educators should not be expected to provide technical support.
- No educator should be simultaneously responsible for in-person learning and remote learning by students.
- Child care shall be made available to accommodate all staff when they are working “in person” while their children may be otherwise unsupervised.
- All staff should be provided paid leave in the event they are exposed to Covid-19 and required to quarantine.
- All staff who are in a high-risk group or caring for someone who is considered high-risk must have accommodations to work remotely until Covid-19 is no longer a substantial public health threat.
Anthony J. Parolisi
Haverhill Education Association