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In this Issue: Mandatory Vaccination and Limited Exemptions; DID Remote Option

1. Representative Council Meeting (8/23) - zoom link sent to home emails
2. General Membership Meeting (8/25)- zoom registration sent to home emails
3. District Safety Committee
4. Summer Bargaining
5. School Board: New Appointment and WEAPAC Candidate Endorsement (9/11)
6. Executive Board Election: Spring Results and Open Positions
August 20, 2021

Dear HEA members,
As you have likely heard, using the current data, public health officials have determined that wearing masks inside enclosed spaces and being vaccinated are critical to keeping our students learning and staff working inside our school buildings during the upcoming school year.  
In response to this guidance, Governor Inslee has announced that all PK-12 and higher education employees and our volunteers must be fully vaccinated by October 18 with very limited exemptions.
While the details are coming, we know that members can request vaccination exemptions for religious and health reasons.  The law requires that exemptions come with reasonable accommodations and are specific to the individual.  HEA is available to assist members with their health-related and religious exemption requests once details are released; however, the district is not required to grant specific accommodation requests.
You may also have heard that the district has agreed to HEA’s request that staff events such as DID and staff meetings, include a remote option to ensure safe social distancing for large group settings.  Attendees can be told to participate from their classroom or another school location to allow for small group work such as grade level or department teams.  If you live outside of Highline, please contact your community’s school board and superintendent to demand remote options for the educators in these districts as well.  As of Wednesday, many locals such as Renton and Federal Way SDs, were still fighting this battle.

My best to each of you!

HEA President

1. August 23 Representative Council Meeting.  This meeting will start at 4:40.  Your Zoom link was sent to home emails.  Please email Portia Robinson with new Representatives names.  We will resend links on Monday to all returning and new representatives.

2. August 25 General Membership Meeting Registration.  A registration link to HEA’s General Membership Meeting should land in your home email by the end of the day. The link will open on Wednesday at 4:00PM with at 4:30PM start time. Members will participate in our first VEBA renewal vote as well as vote on reopeners.  In addition, the bargaining team will provide updates on impact bargaining.  

Pro tip: Please check your spam filter if you do not find your invitation, do not forward your link to others, as each registration is tied to one member email address.   Update your email address here.   You can also contact Lori Fleck with registration needs.

Please help us plan our presentation by sharing your VEBA questions here by the end of the day Monday (8/23). 

3. District Safety Committee.  Work is underway to address COVID safety by the district “Ops” team.  Many thanks to our nurses Kathy Myers, Julie Nguyen, and Jessica Swart along with ESAs Larcy Amorelle and Jessica Walsh who are new or returning members to the team.  The district has agreed to our request to add more HEA members to the team.  Many thanks to Renee Agatsuma (HS), Kathy Onorati (MS), Grace Whitney (ES), Haley Filder (IK) and Margot Munger (dean) for stepping up to represent our members in these discussions.

4. Summer Bargaining.  We are in negotiations to address our students, our schools, and our staff needs for both in-person and remote learning options in the coming school year.  Many thanks to bargainers:  Thara Cooper (chair/electives/DL), Jeb Binns (HS), Veronica Fairchild (HS), Edissa Jaramillo (SpEd/MS/DL), and Elizabeth Beck (WEA).  Carrying over from the spring are Shawna Moore (MS) and Sandy Hunt.  Added this summer was Sandra Aguila (ES/DL).

5. School Board Appointment and Endorsement Interviews.  Please extend a warm welcome to Carrie Howell, a Kent Meridian Middle School teacher and KEA/WEA member (and former HEA member!).  This week the HPS board directors selected her from among five candidates to replace Bernie Dorsey who recently retired.
If you are a WEAPAC member and would like to join in school board candidate endorsement interviews on Saturday, September 11, please email WEAPAC Chair Leslie Sokolik. WEA member Jennifer Fichamba (Tukwila EA) is running against incumbent Angelica Alvarez.  Join WEAPAC or upgrade your membership here.  

6. Executive Board Elections.  HEA Representatives will meet Monday at 4:40 to vote on contract waivers from several schools and certify the re-election of Middle School Representative of Christian Tautua and the election of Shawna Moore as Specialist Representative.
Congratulations Christian and Shawna
With High School Representative Rupika Madhavan leaving the district, nominations will open Monday for High School Representative.  In addition, one Elementary Rep position remains open from the spring.  HEA Elections will be conducted by electronic ballot from Oct 18-22nd.  If you are interested in running, please contact Sandy