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In this Issue:Impact Bargaining Update: DOH Guidance Changes & Impact Bargaining Results

  1. Benefits Bonanza! : Save Money & Win a $50 gift card
  2. CommUnity Art Build for Public Education
  3. HEA Events- Join us for Big Bargain Breakout Room Listening Sessions next Monday on Zoom  
  4. WEA Inclusionary Practice PD
  5. Safety Concerns Reporting Form 

March 21, 2022

Dear HEA Members, 

This week’s eFocus centers around the impact bargaining work that was necessary due to the changing COVID restrictions and protocols.  While the District did not agree to all of our proposals, we were pleased that HEA was able to secure several protective measures above those in the revised DOH guidelines. These are outlined below.

In addition, thank you to the members who took the time to complete the bargaining survey.  We have surpassed the 50% threshold and will now begin the data compilation and disaggregation phase of the work. This data, coupled with listening sessions, research on our comparable districts, and bargaining team caucus meetings, will set the stage for our successor agreement contract negotiations.

Your HEA team was well represented at the National Education Association Leadership Summit last weekend.  I was joined by Executive Committee members Shawna Moore, Brandice Tranholt, and Katie Utesch, bargainer Edissa Jaramillo, and RUC Board Member Leslie Sokolik.  The latter five members attended the Summit as guests of the Washington Education Association, in recognition of their hard work and commitment at the NCUEA Fall Meeting in December.

Finally, HEA would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Superintendent Dr. Ivan Duran.  Dr. Duran’s contract was approved at the 3/16 school board meeting.  HEA played an active part in the hiring process and is looking forward to a productive partnership with the new administration in the years to come.

Two weeks to spring break.

In Solidarity, 

Jeb Binns

HEA Vice President

NEA Board Director 

P.S. Wearing an HEA T-shirt is a great way to show union solidarity and support your bargaining team. Please place your T-shirt order here, if you don’t already have one or need a new one

Impact Bargaining Update: Revised COVID Guidance for Schools & Impact Bargaining Results

As you are all aware, Governor Inslee changed Washington’s mask mandate, effective March 12. This change required OSPI and WA DOH (Department of Health) to make significant changes to the COVID guidance for K-12 schools and childcare providers. The new guidance was first issued on March 8, and revised again on March 10. This did not leave school districts and unions much time to reach agreements that would be consistent with the new provisions in advance of March 12!  

While you are encouraged to read through the new guidance  on your own, we have provided a summary of major changes at the bottom of this update. While our current COVID MOU remains in place, HEA did exercise our right to bargain the impact of the new guidance – and of course, we continue to problem-solve with HR regularly through Labor-Management meetings, as we have throughout the pandemic. 

HEA and HSD, through impact bargaining and Labor-Management problem-solving, were able to reach several agreements that provide Highline employees and students with additional protections that are allowable, but not specifically required, by the new DOH guidance for schools. These are listed below (some were also included in last week’s eFocus).

1. HSD Requirements for return from isolation after a positive COVID test. Highline will continue current policy requiring a negative test in order to return early from isolation: If you test positive, you must stay at home (isolate) for at least 5 days. You can return to school if you test negative on or after day 5, are fever-free for 24 hours, and have resolving symptoms. Masking is strongly recommended upon return through day 10. If you do not test, you must isolate for a full 10 days.

2. Additional PPE will be available. While HSD is required to continue to provide masks for those who would like to wear one, they have also ensured that additional layers/levels of PPE are available for staff who request it. The District has an ample supply of adult-sized KN95 masks and face shields are available upon request.

3. Additional HEPA-filter air purifiers are available upon request. Through their supervisor, staff can request a HEPA filter for a work-space which is not already 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 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.

4. Leave options have been broadened to include staff who reside with a “high risk” individual. Per ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and HELSA (Health Emergency Labor Standards Act), the District is required to provide accommodations and or access to leave for “high risk” individuals, but HEA and HSD both recognize that some employees will be concerned about high risk individuals in their households, as well.

  • “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 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.

5. Responding to COVID “Clusters” and “Outbreaks” with a temporary mask requirement pending guidance from public health. When a cluster or outbreak, as defined by DOH guidance, has been identified, HPS will work with public health authorities (DOH and/or PHSKC – Public Health for Seattle & King County) regarding appropriate actions.  Between the point of identification and the point that DOH/PHSKC has provided direction, students and staff affected by the cluster/outbreak will be temporarily required to mask.

6. Masking and bell covers are still required for Music. Due to the high levels of aerosols generated by choral and instrumental music (wind instruments, in particular), masking and bell cover usage will continue to be required for Music classes. Please see today's Admin Packet item on this for specifics. 

7. Planning ahead for spring break: HSD has agreed to increase access to COVID testing immediately after spring break, and also to communicate with staff and families to remind them of the CDC’s travel guidance

Keep in mind that – unless something has specifically changed per the guidance or these agreements, things remain in place. So, for example, the HPS guidance around remote options for meetings remains as it has been all year. Additionally, there are topics that we will continue to discuss as we respond to ongoing challenges and changes (e.g. substitute shortages, planning for the next surge, spring break response based on case levels in April, etc.). Please continue to watch the eFocus for updates.

Here is a summary of the major changes found in the Revised DOH Guidance 

Section 1 of the document outlines the required elements of the DOH updates and are listed below: 

• Employee vaccination - All employees in educational settings are required to be fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption per Governor’s proclamation 21-14.3. This continues to apply to all employees, volunteers (paid and unpaid) and contractors (p. 10-14 – GOV proc 21-14.3).

• Exclusion of people with symptoms – required to stay home and should get tested and then follow the protocol for return to work – flow chart is expected to be complete later this week. 

• Isolation of people with COVID – if individuals test positive, they must isolate at home for at least 5 days. 

  • After 5 days, if symptoms have improved or they are asymptomatic AND without fever for at least 24 hours without medication, they may return if they have negative test OR are required to wear masks on days 6-10. (Keep in mind that, per our agreements, HSD requires a negative test, and the strongly recommends masking for days 6-10.)
  • No testing is required if returning after 10 days of isolation.
  • Must continue to have an isolation location for those who become symptomatic at school.

• Notifying groups or individuals of potential exposures

  • Employees must be notified of potential exposures per L & I rules.
  • Also, all students who have been identified as immunocompromised, medically fragile, and high risk for severe COVID-19 response must also be notified of potential exposures.
  • All other reporting should be done with a process that can be accessed by families in a language they understand. DOH provides suggested strategies for this notification. 
  • If symptom free, exposed individuals should still attend school/work and watch for symptoms. 
  • There is no requirement to quarantine for exposure -- only for symptoms (and must begin isolation if have a positive test).

Access to diagnostic testing – Districts must provide options for diagnostic testing that is timely for symptomatic students and should be done in a way to reduce days of lost in-person instruction. 

Reporting of cases, outbreaks to DOH and L&I still required.

Responding to clusters and outbreaks – Districts may require enhanced mitigation efforts including some that are listed as recommendations is Section 2. Districts should work with local health jurisdictions regarding these situations. 

Masks are not required in general. However, masks are still required in the nurse/health room and isolation room as these are considered healthcare settings. Masks may also be required in some situations temporarily. In addition, staff and students will have the choice to wear a mask and schools should provide masks and other appropriate PPE to staff and students as needed or desired. 

Section 2 of the document outlines recommendations from DOH – these are optional unless conditions occur that may require additional mitigation practices to lessen the impact of disease in schools and ensure continuity of in-person instruction and care. Most previously required layered prevention measures, like masks, screening tests, ventilation, and distancing, are now advisory. This recognizes where DOH and OSPI believe we are as we move into the next phase of the pandemic.  

Section 3 includes additional considerations. Any individual or combination of these measures may be required by a school, district, program, or local government generally, for higher risk activities, and/or in response to an outbreak or high level of disease. (Note: we have locally bargained agreements that exercise this provision.)

Section 4 and the Appendix include a variety of resources and additional information. Appendix A, in particular, includes a list of definitions that will be extremely helpful including the definition of close contact, contact tracing, case investigations, a “Covid cluster” vs “COVID outbreak” etc. 


1. Financial Benefits Bonanza

On Monday, April 11 (4:30-5:30PM), join fellow HEA members to save more and maximize your member benefits.  (And win one of several $50 gift card give-aways!) Register here and learn how to connect with discounts, access travel benefits, activate and use your VEBA account, meet your personal financial planner and insurance guide.  All because you are a member.  Spend one hour with your NEA Member Benefit specialists and starting leading your best financial life.  Register here today! 

2. Community Art Build for Public Education

Do you have friends, family or even colleagues who don’t quite get the union solidary thing?

Join us at next month’s  CommUnity Art Build where we will create great art while standing up for our rights and getting down with some very cool fellow artists and unionistas from the Highline, Federal Way & Seattle Education Associations. 

Drop in on April 15-17 (times listed below) @ the NEW Highline High School (225 S. 152nd St.)This is an indoor/outdoor family event to build power and strengthen community connections around the contract bargaining occurring across Seattle and South King County. Come Rain or Shine. Food trucks are free! Meet the Artists!  Print-making! Solidarity!  Families and community members welcome!

Register here. and take your art home with you. 

3. HEA Events page: Find details & links here

  • UPDATE! Student Behavior Support- The new Student Behavior Support Committee needs to hear from you.  Provide your input as we work with the district to plan for building level supports and professional development.  
  • UPDATE!  VEBA Retirement Readiness Seminars (March 21, repeated March 29 both @ 4:30).  This is designed to help you get the most out of your VEBA account.  Learn how to send your money, register your account and select an investment.  Registration links are  here on the HEA Events page. 
  • UPDATE! Free Tickets remain for the Gold Star Bash (March 24 @ 6:00-7:00PM).  An in-person event at the SeaTac Community Center.  Doors open at 5:30. Members sign up for your HEA ticket here.  The event will be held at: 13735 24th Ave S. SeaTac, WA.
  • Join the RECN Black Linguistic Justice Book Study (TBD April-May). RECN, Rainier Educators of Color Network, with the help of Highline Education Association and Rainier UniServ Council, is covering the cost of the books and shipping.  Clockhours. Please complete this interest form if you would like to join and receive the book.  Deadline to reserve ibook: March 20, Sunday
  • NEW! Big Bargain Listening Session Breakout Rooms (March 28 @ 4:10-5:10PM).  Session One:  Elementary Classroom Teachers, Secondary Classroom Teachers, ESAs (counselors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, OT/PT/SLPs).  Zoom link for HEA Members is here. Watch for an additional listening session scheduled for special roles and programs coming in mid-April.  
  • UPDATE!  Members Benefit Bonanza and $50 Gift Card Give-Aways! (April 11 @ 4:30-5:30PM)  Learn more about the travel benefits, financial savings, insurance, VEBA and retirement benefits you are eligible to access by being an HEA member and HSD educator. Register here for your zoom link and get your questions answered. Presenters are also available to schedule individual follow up meetings with you to address your personal financial needs.
  • NEW!  Pre-retirement Seminar. (April 15 @ 4:30-7:30PM and April 16@8:30AM-3:00PM)  Join the experts on Friday evening and Saturday to learn how to make successful retirement moves.  You have many decisions along the way that will affect your pension and your healthcare so all members are recommended to attend 2-3 times throughout their careers.  (Consider the 5/3/1 year plan-attend the session five years into teaching, at least three years before you might retire, and finally a year before you will retire.) 
  • Updated!  Unity Art Build with Federal Way & Seattle Education Associations (Drop in on April 15 @5-9PM/ April 16 @10AM-9PM/ April 17 @ 10AM-6PM) At the NEW Highline High School.  This is an indoor/outdoor family event to build power and strengthen community connections around the open contract bargain occurring across Seattle and South King County. Come Rain or Shine. Free Food trucks!  Artists!  Print-making! Solidarity!  Families and community members welcome! Register here 


4. WEA Inclusionary Practices PD

This interactive, four-part series is a must for any educator who wants to learn more about creating inclusive classrooms and schools. Each session includes magical learning experiences with two of the most sought after experts in the field of inclusive education, Dr. Julie Causton and Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak.

  • During the sessions, we’ll explore the what, why, and how of inclusive learning experiences, gain a deeper understanding of when students learn best, and participants will receive practical strategies for supporting students’ multiple identities and seeing disability as a form of diversity. You will also learn highly effective low and high preparation strategies for differentiating lessons, making curricular modifications, and literally 100s of strategies for adapting and supporting students’ access to the general education curriculum and content.
  • Let’s come together to widen our circles! In this cohort-style series, you will have the opportunity to meet with educational colleagues, learn key concepts, collaborate & practice in small groups. In order to maximize the collegial connections, we ask that you PLEASE do your best to attend all sessions.
  • Registration is open. Select the event/course in the drop down menu on the top of the registration page. Once a course is full, it will no longer appear in the drop down menu. This event has a capacity limit of 200. We do not maintain a waitlist. Clock hours are available. Courses/Clock hours are free.


5. Use Our Safety Concerns Reporting Form

You are not alone! Share your COVID SAFETY CONCERN with your COVID CO-CAPTAIN and your building administrator, (send one email to both). If it is not resolved, report the issue to HR using the “Safety Concern Form”.  This link is actively monitored by HR and HSD to resolve member COVID SAFETY issues. Please navigate through the Frontline Central to access and complete the link.