California Educator

February/March 2021

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W I L L I A M S : Educators organize and win Williams Teachers Association in Colusa County started in-person learning for grades TK-3 in November and grades 4-6 in December after negotiating two agreements with Williams Unified. Grades 7-12 were expected to open in hybrid Jan. 12, but WTA members organized at two December school board meetings, pleading with board members not to reopen due to health orders and the COVID surge. Four new school board members were elected in November, and at a special meeting on Dec. 17, they voted to terminate the superintendent. S A N TA C L A R A : Hybrid learning agreement United Teachers of Santa Clara completed negotiations with Santa Clara Unified School District for hybrid instruction. Thanks to a campaign that included comments by members at school board meetings, the bargaining team secured up to 20 special days of paid leave for teachers in case of COVID-19 illness; teacher input on the students selected to return; significant safety protections; monthly free COVID testing; and the commitment that in-person instruction will not begin until the county returns to the orange tier. The memorandum of understanding was ratified by UTSC membership and approved by the school board. R E D L A N D S : COVID agreements extended Redlands Education Support Professionals Association (RESPA) extended all five of their COVID-19 agreements that were set to expire at the end of the year to June 30, 2021. They also secured the continued addition of five days of paid leave; additional cleaning protocols and notifications; and the provision of winter jackets and rain boots to child nutrition services workers, as requested. Redlands Unified also agreed to limiting members to working at only one location in any five-day period, unless their job requires travel to different sites (such as tech services and maintenance). Additionally, all meetings will be virtual as long as San Bernardino County is in the purple tier, except in emergencies or for cohort training. S I E R R A S A N D S : Fighting safety violations Desert Area Teachers Association in Kern County rejected attempts by Sierra Sands Unified School District to reopen additional cohorts and filed a cease and desist order to force the district to follow safety provisions of their small cohort memorandum of understanding (MOU). When the district attempted to open additional cohorts not listed in the MOU, DATA took legal action, resulting in the district announcing it would not proceed as planned. DATA and district officials met to discuss safety violations, resulting in the district instituting protocols for contact tracing, requiring masks for all staff and students while on campus, updating ventilation systems with the required, appropriately sized air filters, and notifying members when there is a possible COVID-19 exposure. R I O : A win for health and safety Rio Teachers Association in Oxnard reached an agreement in December that provides health and safety guidelines and establishes a start date for hybrid instruction that is three weeks after the county is placed in the red tier for COVID-19 risk. The Rio School District originally planned to return all schools to hybrid instruction in late November, but the plan was scrapped, and all in-person special education instruction was moved to distance learning only when Ventura County was placed in the purple tier. 43 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 21

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