Hopefully this email finds you well and your family healthy. As the school year approaches, you may be wondering what next year is going to look like. (How could you not!) Unfortunately, at this point, we aren’t able to provide the clarity that we are all needing right now. Lane ESD has not yet submitted their plans to the state, and the state has not yet released their final guidance. However, we still want to reach out at this point to provide information on the things that we do know. Below is an FAQ with some of the questions that members have asked in the last few weeks. This email will be the first in a series of regular communications from LCEA to its members. If you have any questions that you would like answers for, or issues you want brought up to admin, please get in touch.
Will school reopen in fall?
Lane County does not currently meet the metrics set by Salem that are required in order to reopen in person. However, exemptions are going to be made for K-3, Special Ed, and districts with less than 100 students. We don’t know what those exemptions are going to be yet.
Will I have a job in fall?
The ESD and LCEA both want to prioritize keeping everybody employed, even if we do distance learning to start. In a worst-case scenario, if the district would like to cut your duties/pay more than 20%, they must get board approval and give you a 45-day notice.
How is the union currently working to support members?
Right now, we are focusing on getting as much information as we can, fielding members’ questions, and giving input to the admin at weekly meetings. We are also keeping in communication with the other local unions. Unfortunately, we don’t know yet what exactly the ESD and the local districts are planning for the fall, which makes it hard for us to take specific action at this point. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please reach out!
When will we know more?
The district plans aren’t due to ODE until August 15th, so for the most part, we don’t know what the districts are planning at this time. LESD plans for Westmoreland, Serbu, and the Hospital are due that day also. However, management is preparing to present a preview to the school board on the 4th. Their meetings are public, as are the minutes. We are still waiting on ODE to release special education guidelines, and expecting that to be revealed on the 15th as well. It’s frustrating that this date is so close to the beginning of the school year.
How will the union communicate with its members?
The union will be stepping up its communication and regularly reaching out to members via email, updates to the main LCEA webpage, and the private LCEA Members Facebook group. Please also be paying attention to district and state publications and announcements as your primary sources of information.
How should I communicate health concerns to supervisors if I am in a high-risk group?
The District is planning on sending out a survey soon, but feel free to reach out to HR before then if you would like.
How would COVID-related leave work?
Federal leave is available until at least December 31st and will provide paid sick leave if you catch COVID, are directed to self-quarantine by your healthcare provider, or need to provide care for such a person. You may also qualify for some amount of pay via FMLA if you have to stay home to care for a child whose school is closed. This document has more details; most of the pertinent info will be in questions 66-72.
What if I have questions?
Contact the union via our website, Facebook, or individually. Or come to one of the virtual board meetings. We also encourage you to reach out to your supervisor and let us know what you find out. The District has been communicating via work email, so you may want to keep your eye on that.
How can I get involved?
We have many openings on our committees, including our classroom safety committee, and are encouraging members to get involved, especially in these times. For a full list of committees, please see your contract or contact us.
What are good resources?