Message sent to our membership on April 23rd, 2020
In recognition that substitute educators have been disproportionately affected by a loss of income due to the COVID-19 school closure, OEA has opened up its Relief Fund to all OEA Union members employed as substitutes who have experienced a loss in salary during this time.
You can find more information about the OEA Relief Fund and complete an application by clicking here.
Each individual applicant will be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 after the application is processed. To be eligible to receive funds, you must have become an OEA member by March 2nd, 2020.
We appreciate all your work and hope you continue to be well.
Portland Association of Teachers
Message sent to our membership on April 13th, 2020
We know many of you have questions regarding leaves of absence. Below is a brief overview we’ve put together to give you some more information and to answer some of your questions. If, after reading through this, you still have questions or need assistance with applying for a leave of absence, please email us at PortlandTeachers@gmail.com, and don’t forget to include your work location in your email. (To view the below information as a PDF, please click here.)
Covid-19 Related Emergency Leaves of Absence
Last updated 4/13/2020
You are legally entitled to make use of all the new leaves of absence programs that have been created at the Federal level due to Covid-19 closures. However, PPS has communicated to your PAT leadership, that PPS would prefer that you remain at work (telework). School administrators will work with you to flex your schedule as necessary to ensure that you remain at work (telework) between now and the end of the school year.
This document will provide you with a brief overview of the new leaves of absence created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), additional details are provided below along with weblinks and additional legal memos to help you understand which leave of absence is right for your situation.
What type of leave am I eligible for?
Message sent to our membership on April 9th, 2020 Download the PDF here
The announcement yesterday that we would not meet face-to-face with our colleagues and students for the rest of the year didn’t surprise us, and yet, we all shared in the collective grief. It is the right decision, for everyone’s health and safety. We know how hard everyone has been working, and we hate to trouble you with any more asks, but since distance learning is how we will finish the school year, we would really value your time in taking a short survey so we can better advocate for you and our students.
Message sent to our membership on April 8th, 2020 Download the PDF here
PAT has been providing weekly updates since the beginning of the PPS school closure. Each communication has included a combination of updates relevant to contract educators and to substitutes. Now that Governor Brown has announced the closure of Oregon public schools for the rest of the year, we will attempt to frequently update our website to serve as the repository of all recent PAT news. We have created a web page with all of our previously sent COVID-19-related communications, and we will continue to post any future communications on that page. At this time, we also want to ensure that our substitute teachers are not missing any communication emails, so we will be maintaining a summary of Substitute Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on the PAT website, as well. The links for these two pages are http://www.pdxteachers.org/pat_news and http://www.pdxteachers.org/covid_19_updates.
Frequently Asked Questions for Substitutes (updated 4/7/2020)
Should I apply for unemployment benefits?
Message sent to our membership on April 7th, 2020 Download the PDF here
PAT and PPS have been working on defining a workday/learning day that prioritizes equity, physical health, and emotional well being, and flexibility for everyone involved. At the same time, we must meet state expectations so that we may continue to work and be paid during this difficult time. We believe the plan put forth by PPS in collaboration with us puts us on this path.
This document of teacher work expectations is not the same as any contract modification, or a signed MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) that is a legally binding agreement signed by both PAT and the District, which delineates specific issues pertaining to our working conditions during this period. We have a meeting with PPS on Friday to discuss this. This sequence of events is not our first choice, but during these times everyone is doing the best they can.
We do feel comfortable moving forward with this plan, knowing that every day the plan may need to be changed. We also know that the most important thing is connecting with families and supporting immediate needs. You can apply for grants of $100 to assist families you serve with rent, food, bills, etc….
Message sent to our membership on April 2nd, 2020 Download the PDF here
During this time of profound uncertainty and anxiety, Portland educators, like most others across the country, are dealing with a total upheaval of our lives. Since the shutdown of schools, educators have been juggling the task of caring for their own families, supporting children and elders at home, while desperately trying to figure out how best to serve our students.
As we navigate this new terrain, we continue to advocate with district leadership in PPS that the plan moving forward must center equity and students’ emotional needs, and must be responsive to the needs and realities that students, families and educators are facing in this crisis.
First and foremost, we must make sure that the path forward does not widen the inequities in our society that already put some of our students at a disadvantage.
Message sent to our membership on March 27, 2020 Download the PDF here
We know that uncertain times can leave us feeling anxious. We want you to know that we continue to work on your behalf during these times.
We have been in regular communication with PPS to make sure we can complete the demands of the Governor's executive order, and give our students the best we can, with reasonable expectations from ourselves- knowing that our new “working conditions” vary greatly, as do our virtual proficiencies. As always, our primary concern is not only our students, but also your health and safety.
To that end, we have insisted that any plans provide flexibility for educators, and opportunities for us to capitalize on our strengths while we grow some new skills. No one believes that online learning is an adequate substitution for what we do in our schools with our students. We also understand that we must figure out ways to connect with our students. We believe that the plan for the first week back, which gives educators an opportunity to familiarize themselves with online platforms, is an appropriate first step.
To reiterate what PPS sent out earlier today, the expectation is that the first week back, beginning Monday, March 30, all PAT members who are able to, will work remotely, engaging in online learning and collaboration. The work expected will be flexible and at your own pace.
Message sent to our membership on March 20, 2020 Download the PDF here
This is certainly not the “have a happy spring break” e-mail we imagined sending you, and yet, we really do want to encourage you to take a break.
When we come back from Spring Break, we will be figuring out what our new working conditions will be. We worked with PPS to develop a survey, which we encourage that you take. We know that we are all in different places in our technological abilities, as well as the amount of time and flexibility we have to work from home.
We have been clear with PPS that many of our educators have called, emailed, texted, and insisted that there are many ways we can continue to work in service to our students. We have encouraged PPS to seek volunteers, because we know there are a lot of you.
We also know that for many of you, working during this time presents many challenges: wifi access, caring for others, and lack of quiet work space. Our intent is to work with PPS to determine how we may all continue to work in a way that is reasonable.
Message sent to our membership on March 13, 2020 Download the PDF here
As you are hopefully aware, thanks to many of you and your advocacy, the Governor ordered all Oregon Schools to close until March 30th for educators, April 1st for students.
Though closing schools is not easy, we have absolutely made the right decision from a public health perspective. I am so grateful to our Superintendent’s leadership during a very difficult time. He heard our call, and responded the same day.
Naturally, we will all have many questions, and the truth is, we don’t have all the answers. PAT is working with PPS and others across the city and state to make plans that are responsive to the needs of workers, students, and the community. As we know more, we will share. Thank you for your patience and grace as we work through these difficult times.
Here are a few questions we have received with the best answers we have at this time.
Q: Will educators be required to provide online or remote instruction while schools are closed?
Message sent to our membership on March 12, 2020 Download the PDF here
As you know, the situation surrounding coronavirus is very fluid and continues to evolve. There is a lot of uncertainty facing us, not just as educators, but as the people and families who are living with this outbreak. Please know that your health, and that of your families, loved ones, students, colleagues, and communities remains of utmost importance.
I want to share what PAT is doing to support our members, and answer some questions we have been receiving. In a nutshell, we are fighting to slow down the spread of COVID-19, to make sure our students' needs for food and basic services are met, that graduation can still happen, and we are coordinating with others to safeguard individuals and communities across our city.
First of all, PAT remains in close communication with PPS regarding the virus and schools, we have also been communicating with our nutrition service workers and custodial staff. We meet and discuss issues daily. At this point, it is PAT’s position that it’s not a matter of if, but when, schools will close. We are advocating that notice goes out today, for a date in the future that gives us and our families an opportunity to prepare. The decision to advocate for closing schools does not come lightly to us. Here is just one of many articles that leads us to believe it’s our social imperative to practice greater social distancing. It states: