Sisters and Brothers,
First of all, tonight’s standout and public participation in support of the ESP Living Wage campaign was incredible. The energy of this movement continues to grow and the cries of “LIVING WAGE NOW!” are still echoing off the walls of City Hall. Educators were joined by parents and supporters in the community tonight who stood in solidarity with our ESPs and spoke passionately for their cause. Thank you to everyone who could make it out tonight, and for all who stood out this morning in the rain, committed to maintaining our promise that standouts will continue – and escalate – until ESPs are paid the living wages they deserve.
Tonight’s Joint Stakeholder Coronavirus Response Team meeting was brief. Thankfully, there were no staff members out with COVID-19 or quarantined as a close contact last week, while there was only 1 student who tested positive and was in the building during the infectious period. 12 students are quarantining as close contacts. Unfortunately, our average daily incidence rate ticked back up to 24.8 per 100,000 residents and the percent positivity rate increased by almost half a point to 4.28%, placing Haverhill back in the “red” designation. Pool testing continued to show encouraging data with over 200 pools from earlier this week returning negative (none positive) and another 60 or so more pools sent for analysis today.
On Friday, the Administration assured us that all documented medical accommodations would continue to be honored as agreed to in our COVID-19 MOA and under applicable state and federal law. What they didn’t tell us was that they would be requesting updated medical documentation from our members who continue to require a remote assignment for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year. Had we been informed, we surely would have advocated for more notice and confirmed this with you in advance.
To those members working remotely, we recognize that most of you previously provided the district with medical documentation of your ‘disability’ and/or your physical or mental condition under the assumption that it would cover you throughout the school year. Even if nothing has changed with regard to your situation, we recommend that you contact your medical professional and request the following:
- The previously provided medical documentation of your disability/condition that requires that you work remotely.
- Functionally, identify why it is inappropriate for you to work in person, in a school building.
- Update the letter to reflect a March 2021 date and for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year.
Additionally, under our current agreement, the District can recall all other remote personnel to work in the building with 2 days notice. Some principals have already indicated to staff that without medical accommodations all educators are expected to work 5 days a week from the building. Dr. Marotta confirmed yesterday that an official notice from her office would be forthcoming. We are still discussing implications at the bargaining table for staff who may still have childcare issues related to the pandemic throughout the rest of the school year.
We understand and recognize that for many of you this is one more stressor in your lives, especially given the short notice. And, we want all of our members to stay safe. To avoid an interruption in your remote assignment, we urge you to do your best to provide the district with recently dated medical documentation. If you are unable to obtain the updated information in time, please contact HR and make them aware that you’ve made the request and will provide it as soon as possible.
If you have any issues, inform your building representative as soon as possible.
Anthony J. Parolisi
Haverhill Education Association