I hope this email finds you and your families doing well,
As many of you are aware, last night the Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the District’s reopening plan. Even though the Board has approved this plan, there are many questions still to be answered. Please know that the Board’s approval does not mean that we are in favor of or have agreed to everything in their plan.
Many items in this plan still need to be approved by County Health, and other items need to have final approval by the Faculty Association. Unfortunately, some have accepted this adopted plan as the new law and have sent it out to others in the district, basically saying this is what we are doing. It is not yet time to say this is what we are doing. County Heath needs to approve this plan, and we need to have further discussions with the DO about negotiable items in the plan.
In the past weeks, we have had many discussions with the District. Some of the items we have discussed were in the plan, and some were not. Some topics we are in agreement with the District, and other topics we are not in agreement.
Many of the items in the plan are not negotiable and will be determined by the District and/or County Health. For example, we will be required to wear masks and social distance when on campus and around others. Additionally, County Health will make the decision on whether it is safe for us to return to school under the District’s reopening plan. We cannot make that decision as a Faculty Association, and the District cannot make that decision without the approval from County Health.
Other items in the plan are negotiable. For example, we have tentatively agreed that students will start school on August 17. However, having periods 4,5,6 and 7 on a Friday is something we still need to bargain. I would guess that most teachers would like to end the week with an office hour so they can decompress and possibly prepare for upcoming lessons. We cannot just assume that everything in the plan is what is going to happen. As was mentioned at the Board meeting last night, there will be changes to this plan before school starts.
As of this moment, the District is going to require us to distance-teach from our classrooms. If you have concerns about this, whether it be medical or child-care related, please reach out to Kevin Platt and let him know your situation. We are continuing to discuss this with the district as we would like the District to accommodate our certificated staff during these difficult times.
As of now, the calendar for the 2020-2021 school year is going to change due to added professional development days on August 12, 13, and 14. Because of these added PD days, we will need to add three student days to the calendar, resulting in a 188 day school year instead of a 185 day school year. This will be a one-time increase in days, and we will be paid our daily rate for these extra three days. This will result in a one-time 1.62% pay increase off of the salary schedule. We were presented with a couple of options to accommodate the increase of three PD days. We decided on the option that was more advantageous to everyone. This option allowed us to keep our teacher work day in January, and also allowed us to be paid for all three PD days resulting in the 1.62% pay increase. The three days added to the school calendar include January 11, May 28, and June 11.
We are currently working on an MOU with the District. Our negotiators will meet with the District in the near future, and we will continue to bargain negotiable items while working toward a solution that benefits our members as a whole. Additionally, we always have discussions with the District about important concerns, even if the final decision is in the hands of the District or County Health. The situation we are in has made many of us uneasy and stressed. I can’t even begin to tell you my thoughts on what this pandemic has brought to our laps. As you are aware, in the end, we will probably not have a decision that makes everyone happy. Every one of us has our own situations and beliefs that we would like to see resolved. It is our goal to have a document that is acceptable to both sides and allows for a safe return to school as mandated by County Health.
If you have questions about returning to school, feel free to email me, and definitely let Kevin Platt know about your medical and child-care situations. The following link might be of some help:
Have a great rest of your summer, and I will reach out again when I have more specifics.