Your PAT Bargaining Team was able to reach final agreement on language regarding work under Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) conditions. As we will mention in the Advocate later today, we did all we could to find a way to protect the safety of PAT members who volunteer to serve students in a LIPI setting, and to enable PAT members to serve distinct groups of students who have specific needs.
The ten-point Agreement for LIPI Safety Conditions (view here) contains significant guarantees for PAT members. The agreement requires the District to provide professional development on safety protocols prior to the start of LIPI, and that “only professional educators who volunteer will provide LIPI.” Those two elements mean that no PAT member can be forced to provide LIPI or be punished/discriminated against for not being willing to provide LIPI. In addition, the agreement holds that an educator must be able to review the workspace that will be used for LIPI, and that once LIPI begins, an educator can essentially ‘un-volunteer’ if they do not feel safe or if safety conditions change.
The agreement also specifically states that even if a room can accommodate twenty students, an educator, in consultation with their building administrator, may divide the group into “sub cohorts.” This means that an educator can evaluate and determine the best way to serve the students, and the building administrator and educator can collaborate on how to make the educator’s ideas work.
Finally, if an educator who volunteers to provide LIPI is working with a student(s) who cannot wear a mask, the educator can request and receive KN95 (or equivalent) masks, face shields, protective garments, and gloves.
This agreement empowers educators to be in charge of their working conditions and provides some much needed support for students.
Your PAT Bargaining Team-
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Portland Association of Teachers