In this Issue: Strategies to Alleviate Substitute and Education Support Professional (para) Shortages
1. Ongoing and Upcoming Events-including VEBA Benefits Sessions (pre-register)
2. Did You Get the Memo? Previous Efocus links with COVID MOU language
3. Health & Safety COVID MOU: Quarantine Impacts – Secondary and Elementary Teachers
4. Collaborative Work Day (October 15 is a non-student workday.)
September 24, 2021
We know that feeling weary at the end of week three is not a good sign. Please give yourself grace and try to create space in your work routines for everyone to take a breath, including yourselves. We know that a lack of substitutes is causing additional stress in an already challenging environment. The union will be running listening sessions with our substitutes to determine barriers to picking up assignments.
In the meantime, jobs entered the night before are being picked up at a higher rate than those called in that morning. Get some help from your office manager or a colleague on how to use the new system before you need it. New substitutes are being hired weekly. Please share your appreciation with colleagues who are stepping out of their classrooms and into the CARE substitute cadre. This year they will be filling both daily and long-term substitute roles for the remainder of the year.
If you are one of those people waiting on an ESP (para) to be hired for special programs, be sure to check in with your principal. HR has been approving candidates for them to review so administrators should currently be able to set up interviews. You can also encourage your administrator to turn over the hiring process to the Special Education Department to fill ESP positions in these classrooms.
We continue to work with remote teachers, librarians, elementary specialists, central office specialists, nurses, counselors and other ESAs to create sustainable workloads and healthy environments. Thank you to our HEA Reps and Covid Co-captains for your advocacy and organizing.
Finally, your colleagues who have been teaching in overcrowded classrooms are very appreciative of those leaving your beloved students to move to new buildings and start up new subjects or grade levels. I understand how this is probably the most difficult week of the year for some of you. I was there opening a 6th grade class eight years ago this week at Beverly Park. You are so appreciated.
My best wishes to you all!
1. Ongoing and Upcoming Events
Here are some items of note. Please reach out if you have any questions.
HEA EXEC BOARD MEETING.
On Mon. Sept 27@4:30pm, the eboard will be conducting a review of HEA’s governing documents at each monthly meeting
. A particular area of focus will be ensuring that both the language and policies withing the document are inclusive and reflect the current needs of our members. Email Katie Utesch
for the zoom link if you would like to participate. In September we will review Articles I-V of the HEA Constitution
HEA EXEC BOARD POSITIONS
. Nominations remain open for HEA Elementary Representative and High School Representative on the Executive Board until October 4 or until filled. Email Sandy
if you are interested would like more information and put “candidate” in the subject line.
HEA COVID CO-CAPTAIN MEETING
. Next week, HEA CCCs please plan to attend one of two sessions designed to address your concerns. Wednesday, September 29 (7:30AM-8:00AM) or
(4:00PM-4:30PM). Covid Co-Captains sign up here
if you haven’t done so already. The zoom link will be sent to the email you provide. (Afternoon is a repeat of the morning.)
VIRTUAL VEBA BENEFITS SESSIONS.
New VEBA contributions will begin in January with part-time staff (.5 FTE and above) at $45/month and full-time raised from $50 to $75/month. Your support team at Gallagher will be conducting virtual VEBA sessions to give you a better understanding of the plan and answer any questions you have. Please pick a date and time that works for you. A quick presentation will be followed by a time for Q&A. Also, please see the VEBA Plan Benefits Guide
for Plan information.
2. Did You Get the Memo?
Starting August 27, portions of our COVID MOU have been shared in the EFocus. The entire MOU and the negotiated Letters of Agreement can be accessed on the HEA website. The previous EFocus editions are linked here and topics listed below. Hopefully you find this helpful.
August 27 Efocus: Three-foot Distance Guidelines and Family Connections Explained
September 2 Efocus: Covid Related Reassignments and Leaves (including Temporary Remote Work)
September 9 Efocus: New Process to Report Safety Concerns (to receive a prompt response).
September 16 Efocus: Responding to COVID Cases and Outbreaks and Working with Public Health
3. Health and Safety – from the COVID MOU
Quarantine Impacts – Secondary & Elementary: In the event that more than a few individual students are quarantined, a teacher may opt for a class to switch to temporary remote instruction for the duration of quarantine. The majority of instruction will take place synchronously, under the Continuous Learning 2.0 model, following the live instruction schedule. Asynchronous learning evidenced through platforms will indicate attendance for students attending remotely.
During this time, students will access instruction remotely from home if they are quarantining or ill. If students are not required to quarantine, they will access remote instruction from school. The in-person students will be supervised by the classroom teacher, if the teacher is not required to quarantine, or by a proctor if the teacher is also in quarantine.
4. October 15—Collaborative Work Day
October 15 is much like a team-directed PCT in which the teacher/ESA teams are directing their group time, but the focus must be on one or more building priorities - for example, annual action plan goals or other areas of school-wide focus. Educators select the on-site teams they will partner with to do the work. Staff should expect to work on site although working remotely with your team from your classroom or office should be offered as an option.
Specialists or non-classroom educators who do not have a natural team on-site (or who work in areas for which a site does not have specified priorities) should talk with their principal/administrator about joining with a natural team (e.g. a job-alike) from other sites. If the principal is supportive, that’s fine; however, principals have the right to direct them to work with a school-based team on building priorities instead.