August 27, 2021
In this Issue: Let’s Take a Breather in September (and other creative strategies)
1. 3-foot Distance Guidelines and available mitigations-what makes sense for you?
2. Commitment to Continued Problem Solving and/or Bargaining
3. HEA Building/Program Reps (survey linked below)
4. HEA Covid Co-Captains (survey linked below)
5. HEA Executive Board Members (nominations open for October special election)
6. General Membership Meeting (VEBA Changes Coming soon)
7. Family Connections (September 13 Explained)
8. New Schools/New Programs (links to bargained documents-please review)
Linked below are the documents describing the results of the summer bargain presented at Wednesday’s General Membership Meeting. I encourage you to review them if you have questions. They will be linked to the HEA website in the Contract section. Our goal was to strengthen last year’s MOU and additional protections aligned with current public health requirements and OSPI guidance.
Building safety plans aligned with the new MOU must follow all L&I and public health guidance. Yesterday, the district emailed you an overview of some safety processes (including screening, quarantining and contact tracing) in a 20-minute video. Please encourage your administrator to share it during a staff meeting and/or view this slide deck.
Yesterday, I spoke with Anne Alfred, a public health nurse ventilation specialist who has been advising local union leaders since the spring. She stated that it is imperative that we do everything possible to keep the viral load from building up in our rooms. Based on modeling in other states, I was told public health anticipates the virus will peak two weeks after schools starts. Please continue to monitor health metrics and work with your administrators to adjust your safety plans (make them or less stringent) accordingly.
The month of September is a critical time when we are focused on building relationships with students. To avoid quarantining we must also focus on our air quality—literally—Let’s take a breather in September!
Here are some suggestions for your building safety teams to consider:
1. Do NOT eat breakfast in your classrooms. Masks off only outside. For example, at elementary, hand students breakfast in a sack as they arrive and have them line up spaced apart 6 feet outside and eat in line.
2. Find ways to create spaces for students to eat lunch outside as much as possible. For example, bring some or all of the lunch tables outside to the covered area to each lunch. Allow students to eat in a courtyard or on the field.
3. All grade levels, if you are not on a central air system, keep windows open throughout the day.
4. Elementary school students should leave class every hour for a short break/walk outside to air out your rooms. If you work in a room with a central air system, you should open your windows during this short period of time only.
5. Teach your classes outside whenever possible. Air out rooms between groups (consider increasing passing time/use principal’s flex time for shortened planning time during September if shortened planning time is necessary).
Safety teams must be creative, and educators must actively advocate through their safety teams. I was not able to achieve traction for these ideas during district-level safety planning but their commitment was to support your building plans.
Finally, please remember that almost all transmission in the Spring was adult to adult so now that vaccinated people can more easily be carriers, wear your mask, keep your distance, eat outside.
All my best to you,
3-foot Distance Guideline. HEA has made the district aware that a major concern is the narrative that they are following 3- foot guidance to the extent possible. Without actually hiring extra teachers to move students among more rooms, the vast majority of students will find that 3-foot distancing is impossible. Below are your rights if your students must sit closer than 3 feet and you cannot remain 6 feet from them.
FOR INDIVIDUALS: If the recommended three-foot physical distancing for students within a classroom is not possible due to room size/capacity, the building administrator will engage the teacher in a conversation regarding additional PPE and/or other layers of health & safety precautions.
AT THE BUILDING LEVEL: Prior to the first student day of school, building schedules will be monitored by ILEDs in collaboration with Human Resources for class sizes in excess of the contractual “soft-cap” and/or where three-foot distancing cannot be maintained, and schedules will be adjusted to the greatest extent possible to proactively minimize overloads and promote three-foot physical distancing. Building leaders will ensure that HSD Human Resources is aware of situations in which class size exceeds the maximum occupancy guidelines for a classroom. In the event proactive adjustments to class size cannot be made, a school team that includes HEA representation, will develop a plan to provide safety mitigations (e.g., additional PPE, ventilation enhancements, CO2 monitors, alternative teaching spaces), given the number of students.
Continued Problem Solving.
Our commitment with the district is to continue problem/solving and/or bargaining issues that have been already been identified and concerns as they arise. It is also up to worksites and groups to ensure they are customizing the district safety plan for their unique situations. ESAs have shared their concerns about access to space and safety measures. Elementary librarian leaders are organizing around workload issues. Specialists and small groups are encouraged to meet with HEA Representatives to identify bargainable issues. Email Sandy
and/or your Executive Board Member below if you need support hosting or attending.
HEA Leadership Positions
HEA Building/Program Reps.
Please email Portia Robinson
with the names and contact information of your HEA Building/Program Reps by September 10 if possible. A Strategic Planning and Training session will be held via Zoom after school on September 20. There will be no HEA Rep Council Business Meeting in September but
HEA COVID Co-Captains and Safety Team Members.
Many thanks to HEA Members taking on these roles. COVID Co-Captains (CCCs) please take 1.5 minutes to supply your name and contact information here
. Safety team member stipends of $100/each including the HEA CCC have been bargained along with 5 ESC hours for the CCCs. These positions are NOT appointed by administrators. If your school does not yet have an HEA CCC, your HEA Building Rep(s) will take on that responsibility on an interim basis.
HEA Executive Board. The HEA High School position and one HEA Elementary School Eboard position are open for nominations until October 4. Email Sandy
to nominate yourself or someone else. In the meantime, contact the following Eboard members for support:
Summer Bargaining Results
General Membership Meeting.
Many thanks to those of you who both supported and participated in this week’s HEA General Membership Meeting. HEA VEBA contributions
were reauthorized with the following changes:
- Full time employee contribution will increase from $50/month to $75/month.
- Part time employees (.5 to .9) were added to the plan
- Part time employees will contribute $45/month to their tax-free savings plan.
123Watch for Zoom invitations coming soon! Learn how to invest your tax-free savings and how to access them to spend on health-related items and services. Changes will likely take place in January when potential changes to your SEBB plan and Long-Term Care payment are taking place.
- OT/PT Evaluation Criteria
- SLT Staffing & Mitigation
- SY21-22 Calendar (see note on Sept. 13 below)
Family Connections. A Letter of Agreement
, (see p.9), outlines which staff are assigned to connect with the families of their class, advisory, or LRC caseload at a time mutually convenient to the teacher and the families. Connections must be documented by September 24. Teachers assigned to making connections will be compensated for doing this work with the following stipends:
- 1 day at per diem for up to 5 families of students;
- 2 days at per diem for up to 16 families of students;
- 3 days at per diem for up to 27 families of students.
123The District will compensate the staff member for an additional half-day of per diem for engaging with more than 27 families of students if no other solution can be worked out with the principal.
September 13 is a non-paid, non-instructional day that can be used to do this or other work if a teacher chooses. Members are not required to work that day or to show up at their worksite that day.
New Schools/New Program.
A second Letter of Agreement
, (starting on p. 10), sets out provisions for the following:
- Highline Virtual Academy (will be reviewed, potentially revised, and incorporated into the next CBA)
- Maritime High School (will be reviewed, potentially revised, and incorporated into the next CBA)
- Elementary Remote Program (will sunset after this year)
- Remote Learning Impacts on Self-Contained Special Education Programs (will sunset after this year)
- Renacer Educational Support Program (will be reviewed, potentially revised and either incorporated into an LOA or into the next CBA)
- Learning Center (commitment to address this during the open bargain in the spring)