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CORRECTED ITEM BELOW IN RED. Have a restful weekend HEA! 

In this Issue: Increases to the Coverage Pool and ESC Coverage Pay

1. Events & Actions: YOU ARE INVITED
2. Union: Elections 
3. MOU: Support for Members during Quarantine or Isolation 
4. MOU: Support for Student Learning During Quarantine or Isolation 

January 7, 2022

Dear Members,

December 17 seems miles away and the holidays long past. Your Nurses and HEA COVID Co-Captains are working hard to stay up-to-date as some information is changing rapidly.  Although not yet on their website, yesterday, new guidance for K-12 was released by KC DOH.  Some of these changes have implications for our current MOU. 

We have reached out to district leadership to learn what their next steps are and to request a problem-solving meeting to revise the MOU.  They have stated that at this point, the district has not changed any of their procedures for quarantining and isolation.  Watch for any changes that are adopted in upcoming editions of the EFocus.  Note, a big change for avoiding quarantining if you have no symptoms would be the requirement for your third vaccination (referred to as a booster), if you are eligible for one.  Please get a booster if you have not done so already.

Twin components of COVID safety are the ability to contact trace and then get a COVID test to rule out in-building transmission. HEA has begun the process of asking, cajoling, prodding and such to get that information posted on the website once again.  We also have been providing HSD with ongoing feedback for improving the testing experience for members given that COVID tests have still not been distributed equitably around the region.

Finally, linked to all this is the ability for members to use their planning time for planning (and not substitute teaching).  The unfilled rate has hovered around 45% this week.  To address the shortages, today the district announced it will convert all Central Office Specialists into guest teachers for the next two weeks.  This should provide 40 additional guest teachers, bringing the total to 120 or so.  Doing the math, we will still be short 20-30 teachers per day if absences remain similar to this week.  

Finally, we have asked HSD to recognize that this plan may not eliminate entirely the need for in-school coverage and so more mitigation to members will be provided:

  1. During the entire month of January, the hourly ESC rate for teachers missing their planning time due to the need for class coverage will increase to $100.
  2. ILEDs are working with your administrators to ensure all available certificated employees are being utilized.
  3. The viability of this plan will be reviewed daily and evaluated each Wednesday using class coverage rates to determine if additional or alternative actions are needed to ensure safety at every site.

I encourage you to attend your HEA meetings, listen to your teaching partners, share your feelings about switching to remote instruction versus staying in person with this or additional mitigation.  The HEA Reps will meet on Monday at 4:30PM to share what we are hearing from across the system.  If you would like the zoom link to this meeting, please email HEA secretary Katie Utesch.  All HEA leadership meetings are listed on the HEA website and open to HEA members as observers.

Know that what you are doing is remarkable and that HEA leaders do recognize the current situation is not sustainable over the long haul.

With boundless appreciation,

Sandy


1.YOU ARE INVITED

  • NEW! BOOSTER SHOTS REQUIRED!  Reduce your use of sick leave, support healthcare workers and protect our loved ones with a booster if you can.  Find and schedule a booster vaccine here.
  • NEW! RECN EQUITY CONFERENCE.  Save the date for our 3rd annual Rainier Educators of Color Network equity conference.  This year’s theme is #LevelUp…. Zoom in, beginning the evening of Friday, February 4 and continue on Saturday, February 5.  Please join members from across Highline and the nation in our very own council’s equity work.  Email Executive Board Member Shawna Moore or Council Member Edissa Jaramillo if you can help.
  • HCR LEADERSHIP CONFERNCE.  Save the date for the annual WEA Human and Civil Rights Leadership Conference scheduled online Feb.12, 2022 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2. UNION ELECTIONS

  • WEA NOMINATIONS OPENING SOON.  WEA will be conducting elections for three NEA Board Director positions during the 2022 WEA Representative Assembly in April 2022 via an online election.  (One of these positions is currently held by HEA VP Jeb Binns.)  The nominations web link will open on January 17 and close on Jan 31, 2022.  Guidelines and complete details are on the WEA website.  
  • WEA & NEA RA DELEGATE NOMINATIONS OPEN UNTIL MONDAY.  WEA and NEA RA Nominations are open until January 10.  These delegates represent us in the elections for our WEA (and/or NEA) officers.  Reach out to your building rep or email Sandy for details. 
    • WEA Representative Assembly Delegates (one and two-year terms are open) to be held virtually (April 7-9, 2022) and in Spokane (April 13-15, 2023).
    • NEA Representative Assembly Delegates (two-year terms), potentially Chicago (July 2-6, 2022) and Orlando (July 2-6. 2023).  Details available on Jan. 10.

3. MOU Language that Supports Members

While Quarantining or Isolating

Temporary Remote Work: Certificated staff may be allowed to shift to temporary remote work during quarantine for work-based exposure or illness on a case-by-case basis as outlined below. In the event that implementation of this provision places an undue burden on the system, and/or if public health guidance on quarantine requirements changes, HEA and HSD will utilize the Problem-Solving Process to develop an appropriate solution.

  • Classroom teachers quarantining: If a teacher is required to quarantine as the result of a school-based exposure that leads to a classroom quarantine or a switch to temporary remote instruction for a single class, they may continue to teach remotely, from quarantine, for the duration of the quarantine. Teachers who are not required to quarantine in these scenarios would continue to work in-person even while teaching remotely. 
  • If a teacher is required by the district to quarantine but their students are still in person, and the teacher is well enough to continue teaching remotely, they may choose to do so with a proctor supervising their in-person students or through other viable options. Arrangements to allow teachers to continue working remotely in this situation will be coordinated by HSD Central Office. 
  • Other certificated staff: If a certificated staff member is required by the district to quarantine, but the staff member is well enough to continue working remotely, they may work with their direct supervisor to develop plans to work remotely on a temporary basis, with notification provided to HSD Human Resources. 
  • If remote work is not an option for a particular employee in this situation, the alternative would be for the District to provide up to three days of administrative leave, pending a COVID test. If the employee tests negative, they may return to work; if the employee tests positive, they may file an L&I claim under HELSA and/or access any other available leaves, as referenced above. 


4. MOU Language that Supports Student Learning

While Quarantining or Isolating

Temporary Remote Learning: Due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic, there will be times when individual students, individual educators, or entire classrooms will need to be remote for periods of time due to exposure and necessary quarantine or illness.

When individuals need to access learning when out of school, teachers determine the best plans and strategies to support them in both academic and social-emotional learning. There is no requirement nor expectation that teachers will provide concurrent instruction on a regular school schedule for temporary remote learning.

Temporary remote learning for individual students will include: 

  • Assigned work to be completed by the student via Seesaw, Google classroom, iReady, curricular workbooks or online activities, or other asynchronous learning activities as determined by the teacher. 
  • Periodic check-ins on a mutually agreed schedule between the teacher and student/family to take place via email, phone, text, Zoom, Seesaw, or Google. The expectation is these take place during the regular teacher workday, unless teacher and student/family agree otherwise.

Temporary remote learning may include:

  • Synchronous participation in large-or small-group class sessions via Zoom, Google classroom, or another approved platform, as determined by the classroom teacher.
  • Synchronous learning opportunities, such as peer-peer interaction and small-group instruction, as determined by the classroom teacher.