Here at the GEA office, Star, Cindy, and I have heard from many, many members with concerns about the district’s plan for re-opening schools next month. Due to the volume of the emails, and because we have all been spending time communicating with the district, we have not been able to respond to each email as quickly as we like to. I apologize if this has made you feel like GEA was not hearing you. This message is from Star and Cindy as well. I want to assure you that your messages are being heard.
GEA is not sitting on the sidelines, we are advocating teachers concerns, issues, worries, and needs daily. We continue to try and influence the district to put in place all measures needed for teacher safety.
I know many of you tuned in to the school board meeting on Tuesday. As we listened, it was clear that our messages to school board members were affecting the discussion. Thank you to those of you who reached out to share your concerns. We have been in contact with Board members since that meeting.
At that meeting, a 2-step process was outlined. First, the district’s plan will be approved and sent to the state. Second, each school will be asked to create a school plan. Once the district sends guidelines to principals, teachers will then have an opportunity to give input on the specifics of how that plan will work in their school. So now is the time to reach out to your principal and ask to be involved in that discussion. Let the principal know that you want to have a voice in what your school plan will look like.
I hope that you saw the press release that UEA Pres. Heidi Mathews sent out yesterday. https://myuea.org/Articles/uea_press_release_teachers_are_concerned_school_safety_plans_do_not_go_far_enough_to_protect_students_and_school_staff.aspx
GEA stands behind this message. And we are having an effect statewide. The Governor’s press conference today indicated that there will be specific mask requirements for all schools going forward. District plans, and school plans, will have some leeway in implementing the directive, but your message that students should be required to wear masks is being heard.
Your concern about having to prepare lessons for both online and in-person teaching has also been heard, and we are in conversation with the district to advocate for prep time.
Thank you for staying involved. Continue to send us your questions and concerns. Thank you for your patience as we all work together on this evolving situation. And finally, thank you for belonging to GEA. It is your membership which gives our collective voice the influence it has.
Michael McDonough, GEA president
Star Orullian, GEA Executive Director
Cindy Formeller, GEA Uniserv Director