Don't put Peninsula students' and educators' lives at risk

Don't put Peninsula students' and educators' lives at risk

The Peninsula Education Association worked all summer to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the Peninsula School District that lays out the terms and obligations for both staff and administrators to ensure a safe return. The district’s unwillingness to implement the terms of the MOU is a violation of the negotiated agreement, and a violation of labor law.

Our goal, first and foremost, is to protect the health and well being of our students, their families and ourselves. We need to make sure safety protocols as outlined are understood and followed so we can make it through the COVID-19 emergency pandemic alive and together. PEA members overwhelmingly re-stated our shared priority of keeping students and staff healthy and safe during the pandemic, especially as we restart in-person schooling in stages.

We know that in-person teaching and learning is best for both students and educators, and we want nothing more than to get back into schools with our students.

Going back into buildings requires equipment and preparation.

  • Schools need to have equipment on hand to meet the state Superintendent of Public Instruction’s guidelines for re-opening. These guidelines included the requirements from the state Department of Health and Labor and Industries. These include items such as enough personal protective equipment for everyone, adequate cleaning and sanitizing, and space for distancing.
  • Reopening guidelines also included a phase-in approach with youngest students returning first and Peninsula needs time to evaluate and make appropriate adjustments.
  • Educators will need flexibility should they be at high-risk or have high-risk family members.
  • Educators need to be trained on their building's safety protocols.

Schools need time to get transportation and other services back in place.

  • Peninsula educators need a plan to ensure balance of responsibilities. Teachers cannot and should not teach twice – once in person and once remotely.
  • Schools will need to have leave policies in place for employees exposed to COVID plus a robust group of substitutes to cover for illnesses.
  • We must continue to emphasize student well-being, ensuring there are counselors and social workers in place to support our students and families in these uncertain times.

Let’s do this right so we only do it once.

  • The goal should be to return in a way that increases the likelihood we can keep schools open and avoids having to return to distance learning should cases spike.
  • Peninsula educators will continue to use our voices to advocate for reopening plans that are safe, address racial equity and social justice for students, and provide the time needed to convert reliably to a hybrid learning model.