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Bargaining Survey Extension: We need a minimum of 50% participation for our bargaining survey so it will need to stay open over the weekend.  The survey link went out yesterday in a Special eFocus, and another will go out tomorrow.  If you did not receive the survey, look for it in your spam and then email Lori Fleck if you have email address concerns.

Please take a few minutes this weekend to complete the survey if you have not yet done so! And place your T-shirt order here

In this Issue:  DOH Changes & Impact Bargaining 

  1. NEW! HSD Admin Packet Directives Related to Changes in Health Guidance
  2. WEA Legistive Report: Good News from Olympia  
  3. HEA Events   
  4. WSLC, AFL-CIO Breaking Barriers Event (March 12. 12 PM- 3PM) REGISTER HERE
  5. Pre-retirement Seminar Registration (April 15 & April 16) REGISTER HERE

March 11, 2022

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Dear Supporter,

By now you will have seen the communication from the district about the end of the mask requirement.  On March 14, HSD will be moving to masks optional, or as I say, “the mask recommended stage.” This is a choice the district made despite our advocacy for a delay to support a more informed transition. And this is generating the full range of feelings among our members. 
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HSD, however, was firm in aligning their date with surrounding districts and the rest of the state, and because they are implementing all DOH requirements, this decision aligns with our joint MOU.  Here is a link to the complete DOH guidelines which came out on Tuesday.
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That said, we have used the full impact bargaining process to meet HEA’s goal of providing additional layers of protection for all members. More details regarding the results of our impact bargaining will be communicated next week. In addition, high risk individuals who need accommodations have access to them through ADA or, at a minimum, have access to unpaid leave through HELSA.  Directions to principals for supporting their staff in accessing these protections, including portable HEPA filters, is shared below. 
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If you plan to apply for leave/unemployment or an accommodation under ADA (or HELSA), you will need to follow the directions in the admin packet and submit medical documentation. The CDC has put the following people in a higher risk category: those who are pregnant or recently pregnant, and people with certain medical conditions. The unvaccinated are at the greatest risk of a serious response to COVID.
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While you wait for your accommodations/leave request to be processed you may choose to use your sick leave.  Use employee online to track how many days of leave you have accumulated.
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The drive to remove masks is coming at a time when the number of cases has dropped substantially.  We must recognize, however, that each of us has been impacted by COVID differently, and each is in a different risk category.  Please continue to support each other and consider how the choices you make can help everyone feel comfortable and supported at work.

My sincere best wishes to you,
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Sandy
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1. NEW! HSD Admin Packet Directives Related to Changes in Health Guidance

As Highline moves to masks optional for students and vaccinated staff, employees may choose to exercise precautions to limit their personal exposure to COVID while at work.  The following outlines precautions which may be accessed based on an employee's context.

All staff may:

  • Continue to wear masks.  KN95 masks will continue to be available at all work sites. 
  • Request a face shield from their supervisor.  Face shields will be available at all work sites.
  • Consistently utilize thorough hygiene routines at the work site.
  • Through their supervisor, request a HEPA filter for a work space which is not serviced by a MERV13 Filter. Distribution will be prioritized as follows.
    • Staff who have a medically documented need via the ADA process and have submitted a request prior to April 11 will have first priority.  Email Stephanie Bae in order to start the ADA process.  
    • Staff without a medically documented need will be prioritized on a first come, first served basis after those with medical needs have been addressed.
    • Staff who have medical needs which arise after April 11 will still be accommodated as soon as possible.

“High risk" staff as defined by the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (Age 65+ - Qualifying medical conditions - Pregnant or recently pregnant) may access existing leave and unpaid leave with unemployment.  Qualifying medical conditions are determined via the same criteria used in the ADA process.  Documentation from a health care provider is required.

Email Laura Castaneda for determining eligibility and accessing protected leave.

Staff who reside with a “high risk" individual: Staff may request an unpaid leave per the conditions of their respective collective bargaining agreements.  To the extent possible, Human Resources will work with staff to grant the unpaid leave or provide increase the layers of precaution at the worksite while still respecting the individual rights and preferences of staff and students.

Email Laura Castaneda for assistance considering options.  Proof of residence of a “high risk" individual will be required.

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2. WEA Legislative Report: Good News From Olympia

The legislative session ended yesterday, and I’m not aware of any last minute changes to the budget, so I think we can assume that it passed as summarized below. However, keep in mind that the Governor still needs to sign most of the related bills, and could still exercise his veto power over specific items. 

We were pleased to see that the Senate came to the House level and provided a true fix to ensure that K-12 educator pay can keeping pace with inflation. This increase is applied to the state funded average salaries for classified, certificated and administrators alike. Mental and behavioral health is addressed by providing more counselors, nurses, social workers and psychologists through the prototypical school model. Paraeducator training was expanded to include 4 days of training for new staff. In addition, a new funding item was added to begin to address the need to update pupil transportation. 

Here is a quick rundown of some of the major budget items, followed by explanations on the Mental Health / ESA staffing and enrollment hold harmless funding items. Further information will be compiled in the near future for presentations and end of session reports. 

Mental and Behavioral Health in Schools

As was true in both House and Senate budgets, the final budget included funding mental and behavioral support for students through additional counselors, nurses, social workers and psychologists in the prototypical school model. Those changes were made in 2SHB 1664, which has passed the legislature.   Here is a summary of the current school year and the beginning and end of the phase in of these additional staff. 

Staff FTE Allocations Per Prototypical School

Want to look at this same investment another way? As the funding phases in, here is a look at how many students per 1 FTE allocated counselor, nurse, social worker and psychologist in the updated prototypical funding model. While HSD currently funds these positions at better ratios using levy dollars, the increased funding from the state will allow us to go after additional improvements to our CBA with the newly available levy funds.

Students per 1 FTE allocated staff

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In addition to the ratios funded above, there remains 0.333 additional counselors funded for each high poverty school in 2022-23 school year.    This was originally funded in the biennial budget as 0.5 counselor per high poverty school for 2022-23 school year.  With the phase in investments in this budget, the incremental funding for high poverty schools was scaled down to 0.333 on top of the updated formulas in the prototypical model. 
Note:     
In addition to the ratios funded above, there remains 0.333 additional counselors funded for each high poverty school in 2022-23 school year.    This was originally funded in the biennial budget as 0.5 counselor per high poverty school for 2022-23 school year.  With the phase in investments in this budget, the incremental funding for high poverty schools was scaled down to 0.333 on top of the updated formulas in the prototypical model. 

3. HEA Events page

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4. WSLC, AFL-CIO Breaking Barriers Event

REGISTER HERE

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5. Pre-Retirement Seminar (April 15th & 16th) 

click here for more information

Register here today!

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