Standing Up for Educators

Dear PAT Members,

We’ve received an overwhelming number of inquiries about yesterday’s message from the District, accusing educators of misusing sick leave.

Rather than recognizing our extraordinary efforts to support our students in the face of untenable conditions, or acknowledging their own failures to prepare for this latest COVID surge, District leaders are now accusing PAT members of engaging in illegal activity. Their message appears to be an attempt to intimidate anyone organizing to assert their rights under Oregon law and our union contract, following the guidelines of OHA to stay home when they are sick or have symptoms of COVID, or shouldering the responsibility to care for their own family members who are sick or who need to quarantine. 

This response demonstrates how out of touch PPS administration is with what’s happening in our schools, and lands as an attempt to blame educators for the District’s own failure to honestly and proactively address the current staffing crisis and public health emergency.

This message from PPS is off-base, demoralizing to all educators, and an insult to our profession. 

We are nearly two years into this pandemic, and in the face of the Omicron surge, PPS leaders still have no plan to provide sufficient testing, or maintain the staffing levels needed to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. They have no plan to mitigate the enormous burden that educators are carrying as they show up every day to fill the gap between what our students need and deserve, and the egregious lack of staff and resources that the state and the District are providing. 

Educators have gone above and beyond this year, doing everything possible to create a positive and supportive learning environment for students in this year of chaos. Educators continue to grade student work, plan lessons, and communicate with parents while out on sick leave. Educators are substituting in other classrooms during their planning periods, or in addition to their crucial duties as counselors, TOSAs, mentors, social workers, ELL teachers, specialists, and instructional coaches. Educators are taking on the duties of paraeducators, education assistants, and custodians, to keep students and classrooms safe when schools are short critical staff.

Our schools are operating right now only because educators are going above and beyond every single day, and often into the night and over the weekend. 

Rest assured, PAT will aggressively push back on any attempt by the District to intimidate or harass educators from using their own sick time to deal with COVID infection or other illness.

We have been raising the red flag all year about dangerously low staffing levels in so many of our schools, and that the shortage would likely get worse if the District refused to address the underlying reason that educators are leaving the profession. The latest COVID surge has pushed a precarious situation over the edge.  

With Omicron raging in our community, it is predictable that so many staff and students will need to stay home. In the longer run, we know the staffing shortage will only get better if we address the crushing and impossible workload driving educators out of the profession, and build a culture of respect for the professional educators and staff who work every day to support and inspire students. We will continue to press the District for much-needed workload relief, both for this year, and for the years to come. The future of our profession depends on it.


In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel, PAT President                       

Gwen Sullivan, PAT Vice President


Portland Association of Teachers

President's Message: We’re All In This Together

Dear Educator,

PAT members continue to do everything we can to make each day safe, meaningful, and responsive for our students, whether we are serving them in person or virtually. 

In these first weeks of this new year, the omicron variant is once again upending our assumptions and presenting enormous challenges to families, educators, and schools.

Omicron by the Numbers (and the numbers we don’t have)

The omicron variant has brought COVID transmission to new levels in our community and around the world. And, while being fully vaccinated and boosted remains important protection from a severe case of COVID, it no longer makes a person unlikely to test positive or transmit the virus.

This has resulted in enormous disruption in our schools: 

  • In the last 10 days, at least 290 PPS staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • An additional 113 have been officially advised to quarantine. 
  • In that same period of time, at least 2,438 students have begun quarantine or isolation. 

*as of 10:00am on 1/12, according to the PPS Dashboard, for January  2 -January  12, 2022. 

We know that these numbers are a huge undercount of the impact of COVID-19 on our schools this month. They do not include:

  • Students or staff who are staying home with symptoms, as is required by OHA and CDC guidelines, as they wait as long as a week to access a COVID test.
  • The staff who must stay home with young children who are in isolation or quarantine. 
  • Students who used at-home test kits and whose cases are therefore uncounted.
  • The many students whose families are choosing to keep them home from school during the surge as a precaution.

We have been calling attention to the dangerously low staffing levels in our District since the fall, and Omicron has only made the problem worse. 

According to PPS data, every day last week PPS had between 175 and 282 unfilled absences in classrooms. 

The unwelcome fact is that with so many educators, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, and support staff out for any of these COVID-related reasons, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain even the minimum staffing levels to run our schools safely. 

We all want to be in-person safely with students. While PPS has not partnered with us in determining how to respond to these extreme staffing shortages, we know that we can not ask parents to send their students into schools if we can not guarantee a minimum level of staffing to run schools safely. 

Setting Priorities Together

Throughout this unprecedented school year, our union has tackled so many urgent issues. We fought for a renewed COVID-19 safety agreement for in-person instruction, and brought national attention to the urgent workload concerns in PPS with our Time to Get it Right campaign. 

In addition to these Omicron-induced staffing shortages, we are still facing an increasingly untenable workload, the need to enforce our COVID-Safety agreement from the fall, and the opportunity to secure lasting improvement to our teaching and student learning conditions as we bargain a new contract with the District. 

With so much going on, including new COVID-19 uncertainties, it is crucial that we invest our energy and organize around solutions that unify us. 

Thank you for answering our recent survey. We will be sharing initial results with the PAT Representative Assembly tonight, and will use this information to focus our collective power on what is most important to our 4,000 members. 

Whatever we do, we must do it together. There are no easy answers to the challenges we are facing, which is why it is more important than ever that we listen to all our colleagues, and organize for solutions that bring us together. If we are strategic, and stick together, what we do over the next six months will undoubtedly bring us closer to our long-term vision for the Schools Portland Students Deserve.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

Know Your Contract: COVID-19 Safety Agreements

Monday we sent some reminders about our COVID-19 Safety Agreements.  Click here to see the message. 

COVID-19 Screening Testing for Oregon Educators

Oregon Health Authority offers free COVID-19 testing for K-12 staff in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. This project offers free weekly screening testing by mail to any public or private K-12 staff. 

Sign up here for this OHA program.

Know Your Contract: Study Leave and Unpaid Leave-- Deadlines to Apply

If you are considering taking a Study Leave or Unpaid Leave next year, please review the deadlines listed below. (Additional information regarding these unpaid leaves can be found on the PPS website.)

Type of Leave

Due Date



Study Leave – Full Year

2ND Monday in February


Completed applications with all necessary information for fall semester for full year study leaves must be filed with the Study Leave committee by the second Monday in February preceding the year of study leave.

Full-Year Unpaid Leave

March 1st


Requests for a full year unpaid Personal, Exchange, or Career Development leave of absence (whether part-time or full-time) for the next school year must be submitted to Human Resources prior to March 1 or the leave will not be approved, except in extenuating circumstances where such leave requests will not be unreasonably denied.

Know Your Contract: Retirement Deadline is Approaching

The early notice deadline for resignation or retirement is fast approaching. If you submit a written notice of resignation or retirement no later than January 15th, you will receive $1,250. See Article 18.2.1 of the PAT-PPS Collective Bargaining Agreement. Please keep in mind that once you submit your resignation, you are still required to complete the full academic year.

OEA-PAC Convention February 18-19th

Registration is now live for the OEA-PAC Convention! PAC members may sign up using this link! We hope you can join us virtually in February! Register Now!

Candidates for the following offices will be seeking our endorsement at the convention!

  • All six US Congressional Districts
  • US Senator
  • Oregon Governor
  • Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner

Anyone who contributes to OEA-PAC is welcome to attend the convention; if you are not a current donor and wish to attend, make a contribution today at: Join the PAC !

PAT Elections: Vote In February

PAT elections will be held this year in February, for terms that begin July 1, 2022.

On February 7th, an email will be sent to PAT members’ PPS email accounts, which will include a link to their ballot, candidate statements, photos, and videos of candidate speeches.

The following are the candidates for the major offices in this election:


  • Angella Bonilla


  • Jacque Dixon
  • Gwen Sullivan


  • Emily Markewitz


  • Tina Lamanna

Executive Board (vote for 5):

  • Aurelian Boudreaux
  • Greg Burrill
  • Vincent Chirimwami
  • Amanda-Jane Elliott
  • Emily Golden-Fields
  • Joanne Shepard

The ballot will also include candidates for OEA RA Delegate positions and for NEA RA Delegate positions.

Please make sure to vote by Thursday, February 24, 2022, by 5:00 PM, outside of your work hours.

PAT Elections: Submit Questions for Candidates

Pursuant to Section 2, subsection E of the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook, members now have the opportunity to submit written questions for the Officer and Executive Board candidates who are currently running for office. The Nominations and Elections Committee will choose up to 4 member-generated questions to ask candidates to respond to via an optional, electronic questionnaire. PAT members will receive a copy of candidate responses along with the voter pamphlet on February 7, 2022. Please submit your questions via this electronic form by 5:00pm on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022. 

Black Lives Matter at School

Black Lives Matter At School Week of Action (January 31-February 4) and Black History Month (February) is fast approaching! The Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee would like to share a few vetted resources to support your efforts to connect students to the vast tapestry of resistance, power, knowledge, and joy of Black Americans from past to present. In this time of pandemic, exhaustion, and anxiety, we know that many members are spread incredibly thin, without much extra to give. We hope these resources will make it a little easier to provide the windows, mirrors, inspiration, and education our students deserve. 

If you would like to help plan PAT’s annual Black Lives Matter At School Week of Action or if you have a suggestion to contribute, please email Alisha Chavez-Downing or Julie Whitaker. Thank you!

Please check out these resources to use with your classroom!

  • Teaching for Change will host a Virtual Curriculum Fair: Black Lives Matter at School 2022 on Saturday, January 22, featuring workshops, a keynote speaker, and time for educators to learn more about Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.
  • The DC Area Educators for Social Justice organization has robust educator resources, with links to suggested lessons, films, books, readings, and general teaching guides for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action and beyond.
  • It goes without saying that learning about slavery should not be your students’ first or only introduction to Black history. If you will be teaching about enslavement in America, Learning for Justice has an in-depth, sensitive framework for Teaching Hard History that is broken down into K-2, 3-5, and 6-12 grade level bands.

If you are reading this, please click this link to receive a small gift from your PAT Membership Committee.

Request for Help with Newberg Education Association

Newberg Educators are trying to win back community control of their school board.  

This coming Sunday, January 16, please join Newberg EA and community members to phone bank (can be done from anywhere) or do door-to-door canvassing.  

Sign up here.  Confirmation and training instructions will be emailed to you.

This is our time to step up and stand with Newberg students, educators, and community members. This is your opportunity to help say enough is enough to school boards who vote to dismantle the freedoms of expression and commitment to equity we believe in for our public schools. Can you give an hour this coming Sunday?  

January 13th Upcoming Webinar: Navigating the Student Loan Forgiveness Quagmire

Your union is working on several fronts to help with the student loan debt crisis in this country. On an individual level, we want to help you better understand the Federal Loan Forgiveness programs, including the newly announced PSLF Waiver and to move you toward loan forgiveness. 

Please join us Thursday, January 13th, 4:30-6:30 PM, on Zoom, to learn the facts about the current federal loan forgiveness programs and to gain access to the NEA Member Benefits Loan Forgiveness Navigation tool available at

RSVP here. Please remember that you need to be a PAT member to attend, so if you are not already a member, sign up here today.

Upcoming Events

PAT Committee Meetings- Join the committee mailing list to receive a Zoom Link.

  • January 19th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Bargaining Committee Meeting
  • January 19th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Instructional Professional Development Committee Meeting
  • January 26th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Legislative Committee Meeting
  • January 26th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Membership Committee Meeting
  • January 26th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Racial Equity Committee Meeting
  • February 2nd, 4:30-6:30 PM: Social Justice/Community Outreach Committee Meeting
  • February 2nd, 4:30-6:30 PM: Substitute Committee Meeting

**All PAT committee meetings will be held virtually on Zoom for the time being

Other PAT Events:

  • January 13th, 4:30-6:30 PM on Zoom: Navigating the Student Loan Forgiveness Quagmire: Upcoming Webinar. RSVP today!

Upcoming OEA Training and Events:

For all upcoming events, please see the PAT calendar and OEA calendar.

COVID-19 Safety Reminders

Dear Educator,

Here are some important reminders about our COVID-19 Safety Agreements

Masks and Ventilation and Social Distancing

  • KN95 masks are more effective than cloth or surgical masks for preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Our safety agreement requires that KN95 masks are available to any educator who requests them. If your building does not have a supply of KN95 masks, make a verbal and written request to your principal.
  • Use your HEPA-air purifier on high, and keep your door or window open. Our safety agreement requires that there be HEPA purifiers sufficient for the space.
  • Make sure students remain distanced and masked. This is in our agreement, and mask wearing is required by the state, as well.
  • Check with your safety committee to ensure there is a plan for lunch that ensures students maintain at least 6 feet while eating.

Quarantine and Isolation

  • Staff and students should not come to school if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. Remind parents not to send their children to school if they have any symptoms.
  • If you have tested positive or otherwise been told by a health professional to isolate or quarantine, you can use Quarantine Leave for your absence. 
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and have been advised by a licensed health care provider to get tested for COVID-19 and refrain from working within a reasonable timeframe, you may also use Quarantine Leave.


  • If you become symptomatic at school, you can access a rapid test at your school site.
  • Staff who are asymptomatic and were exposed to COVID-19, can access a test at the BESC before or after school. Check here for hours and availability of tests. [NOTE: as of the drafting of this email, the link says that “testing is full” for January 10th.]
  • If you become symptomatic when you are not at school, you should utilize your health provider or other opportunities to get tested for COVID-19. 

It has been widely reported that many people are having to wait a week or more to access testing. In the meantime, symptomatic people awaiting a test should stay home. We know that is greatly impacting staffing, attendance, and anxiety levels about our schools 

We are hearing many concerns about staffing levels and student attendance rates at schools across the District. We have formally requested school-by-school data from the District and are awaiting a response. 

Thank you for all you do to support your students and your colleagues in this very difficult time.

Portland Association of Teachers

Deadline Approaching! Apply Today for the Racial Justice Institute Fellowship

We wanted to pass on to Educators of Color the following opportunity to apply for the Racial Justice Institute Fellowship. See their flyer.

In the summer of 2019, the Educator Advancement Council piloted several sessions for culturally and linguistically diverse educators. That pilot helped craft the framework for the launch of the Educator Advancement Council's Racial Justice Institute.

The Racial Justice Institute (RJI) - taking place between January 2022 and June 2023 - is created to support and achieve culturally and racially affirming environments for educators serving Oregon’s Pre-K to 12 School Systems. This includes developing and facilitating a collaborative, educational environment for racially, ethnically, or linguistically diverse educators and that provides leadership to support culturally and sustaining pedagogical approaches and racial justice in school communities. There are two parts to the RJI: A Fellowship and the Network.

The RJI Network includes regular facilitated virtual learning sessions that will include learnings from the fields, opportunities for personal story sharing, and connecting with other educators who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse across the state who are also impacted by inequities. Sessions will include keynote speakers from a national network of leaders on topics which will be shown on this calendar page.

The RJI Fellowship will support 30 culturally and linguistically diverse participants to engage in racial justice learning, leadership, and project development in school communities (application linked here). Fellows will participate in collaborative, place-based projects to create more racially affirming educational spaces across the Pre-K to 12 school system.  They will have monthly, day-long virtual sessions with inspirational leaders, educators, healers, and social movement change makers to learn from in community with the group of 30 fellows from across the state of Oregon.  Fellows will be provided with a $20,000 stipend and funds to cover substitute teacher cost.

  • What is the Fellowship timeline?  January 2022 - June 2023
  • When are the Fellowship virtual sessions?  The first session will be on January 26, 2022 from 9am- 12pm. Because of substitute teacher shortages, we have scheduled sessions two and three on Saturdays (Feb 19 and Mar 12).  To best meet fellows needs, all subsequent monthly sessions will be determined by consensus with the Fellows.
  • Who can apply to the Fellowship? Racially, ethnically, or linguistically diverse educators across the Pre-K to 12 school system in Oregon should apply and their experiences and safety will be centered. 
  • How do applicants apply? In an effort to make the process as easy as possible, applicants need only submit an application form by January 10, 2022 at midnight. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and fellows will be accepted on a rolling basis. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible in order to increase your chances of acceptance.

For more information please contact Jonah Canner at [email protected]. Finally, click here to read our FAQs, where you will also find the Fellowship Goals & Program Components and the Arcs of Learning.

Yours in Education,

Shadiin Garcia, Racial Justice Facilitator & Jonah Canner, IDEA Racial Justice Institute Coordinator

Update on Workload Bargaining- January 2, 2022

Dear Educator,

In August, we demanded to bargain with the District over the workload impacts of the pandemic. The District finally sat down to formally begin this critical discussion in November. By then it was clear that our untenable workload– exacerbated by the pandemic conditions– was creating a staffing crisis that threatens our ability to safely run our schools.

We clearly stated our goal of offering educators meaningful workload relief, and creating better systems of support for students before the winter break, so that our community could have time to adjust to any changes, and so that students and educators could come back in January with some confidence that things will get better. 

After 5 sessions of bargaining, it became abundantly clear that the District wasn’t willing to offer any significant workload relief for educators, or any meaningful improvements in student safety or student academic/emotional support. Therefore, today, we informed the District we are withdrawing from these talks.

You can watch the latest sessions here: December 16th Parts 12, and 3; December 17th Parts 123, and 4.

The Crisis We are Facing

With over 1,400 PAT educators responding to our survey that they are considering leaving the profession, and the District’s own data highlighting the multiple crises facing our school communities, your PAT Bargaining Team pushed District leaders for immediate action.

We are dangerously understaffed, safety is a constant concern in our buildings, and many students urgently need targeted support.  These problems will continue to get much worse if the District does not change course. In order to preserve this school year, and have hope that next year can be better, we need to readjust by making this year manageable for educators and responsive to student needs.  

Our Solutions: The Time to Get it Right

In response to this crisis, PAT proposed a series of adjustments designed to give educators the time they need to meaningfully support students and create a positive and safe school environment. All of our proposals came from what educators said they need to better meet students this school year: 

  • Time for educators to adapt instruction to meet student needs and to give feedback to students and families
  • Time for educators to collaborate with SpEd, ELL, Social Workers and content teams
  • Time for school staff to work together on school climate for student safety and learning
  • Temporary removal of job duties that do not immediately have an impact on student learning
  • A requirement that PPS BESC staff who are not PAT members pitch in to help when there are para-educator vacancies and absences 

The District indicated that they shared the goal of addressing the crisis we are facing. However, they rejected almost all of PAT’s proposals, including common sense changes that do not impact student instructional time:

  • They refused to give professional educators any autonomy in how we use our “Professional Learning Community” meetings (PLC’s), insisting that all PLC collaboration time must be fully administrator-directed
  • They refused to lift the cap on compensating Special Educators for IEP writing, while also refusing to agree that Special Educators can not be expected to do legally-required work outside the contract day if the District refuses to pay for it.  This is a failure to offer support for Special Education students.
  • They refused to begin the New Year with a day to work on school climate. While the District agrees student safety and learning depend on schools having a building-wide School Climate Plan, they refused to use the natural opportunity of winter break to allow schools a meaningful opportunity to reset. Ironically, the District rejected our proposal (which we presented in November) by asserting that administrators need a month in January to prepare for one day of school climate work.
  • In the last minutes of discussion, they revealed that their “offer” to add a planning day in March was in fact just a proposal to shift a planning day we already have in June, while still expecting educators to complete all the end-of-year tasks and duties which that day is for. 

After analyzing the practical implementation of the District’s proposals, it is clear that the totality of what they are proposing fails to provide genuine or adequate support for educators and students.  

The only conclusion we can draw from this is that the District is banking on educators to shoulder the burden and legal liability of a dangerously understaffed system.  The District is expecting parents and students to accept a system where student safety is in question, and any meaningful support for struggling students depends on educators working on their own time, outside of the system that PPS has created. 

The District says it understands the needs of students and educators and that it is trying to balance the needs of both.  But those needs are not in opposition: to meet students’ needs, PPS must listen to what professional educators know is necessary to meet those needs. And it should be obvious that pushing educators past their breaking point invariably hurts students.  

Next Steps

The District has always had the power to work with the PAT to make changes it believes are necessary to address the crisis we are in.  We call on the District to do so now.  Any proposal put forth by the District that, in fact, benefits students and educators can be assured the fast-track vetting by PAT necessary for rapid implementation.

In the meantime, given the ongoing staffing crisis, we can only recommend that educators set personal boundaries which allow them to persevere until conditions improve.  Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup - we are not serving our students, our communities, or ourselves by careening to our own breaking points.  We must all set realistic expectations of ourselves, and support our colleagues in doing the same. It is ok to say, “this is all I can do” and let that be enough.

In the coming month, it is essential that our union shifts focus to fully implementing our COVID-19 safety agreements and making sure we do everything we can to keep school staff and students as safe as possible during this wave of the pandemic.  

Your PAT Bargaining Team is now focusing on negotiations for a successor agreement to our current contract, which expires at the end of this school year.  We will seek major improvements to the teaching and learning conditions in our schools, and will propose language to address vital issues such as class size, planning time, school safety, and fair compensation that keeps up with inflation.  We believe that we can and will achieve these goals as long as we are fully united in fighting for them. More communications about the timeline and process for successor bargaining will be forthcoming. 

In a moment when so many of our colleagues are feeling despair, we fervently believe that the collective actions of thousands of passionate professional educators can reignite hope and bring lasting improvements to our schools in 2022 and beyond. We will continue to fight for our vision, in which becoming an educator is not only a calling, but a career that attracts highly-skilled and diverse professionals, and supports beloved educators to remain in these positions throughout their professional lives. Our students deserve no less. 

In Solidarity,

Your PAT Bargaining Team

Steve Lancaster, Angela Bonilla, Emy Markewitz, Charity Powell, Francisca Alvarez, Thea Keith

Our COVID Safety Agreements: Reminders and Highlights (1/1/22)

Dear Educator,

Over winter break, the spread of COVID-19 in our community has increased drastically. While there is reason to hope that the omicron variant is milder than previous strains, and that vaccinated individuals remain at much lower risk of severe illness if infected, the Oregon Health Authority has predicted that Oregon hospitals will be overwhelmed in the coming month. 

Together we have fought for some of the strongest safety agreements in the country, and it is more important than ever that we make sure they are followed, to keep students, school staff, and our community as safe as possible.

Of course, if you are feeling sick, STAY HOME and use Absence Management to request a guest teacher, as soon as you know you will be gone.  NBC reported that a cough, congestion, runny nose, and fatigue appear to be prominent symptoms with the omicron variant.  

If you are experiencing any COVID symptoms or if you have had direct contact with someone who has COVID, get tested. The CDC and OHA have updated their recommendation that fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 be tested 5-7 days after exposure, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Although the CDC recently shortened the recommended period for isolation to 5 days after a positive test for the general population, the Oregon Health Authority is still recommending a 10-day isolation or quarantine period for schools

Please review our COVID-19 Safety agreements, as well as the guidance from ODE. Below are some highlights.

Our LOA on COVID-19 Safety (8/2021) states that:

  • Staff and students exposed* to COVID-19 must be excluded. (1) (*The OHA currently defines “exposed” as people who are not fully vaccinated)
  • KN-95 must be provided to any educator who requests them. “Subject to availability” is in case there is a supply shortage. (3)
  • When educators need to self-isolate due to being COVID-positive, they will not lose pay. (4)

Per our MOA Vaccine Mandate Effects between the Coalition of Unions and Portland Public Schools  you may use “quarantine leave” if any of the following are true:

  • you are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; 
  • you been advised by a public health official to self-quarantine or isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19; 
  • you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and have been advised by a licensed health care provider to get tested for COVID-19 and refrain from working within a reasonable timeframe;
  • you are diagnosed with COVID-19. (10 a and b)
  • You may also use your quarantine leave for up to 3 days of missed work due to side effects of receiving a booster shot (Vaccine Mandate MOA, 8).

Ready Schools, Safe Learners (RSSL) and Planning for COVID-19 Scenarios in Schools (both updated 12/13/2021) give the following guidance:

  • People who have COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days after their symptoms started (or, if they have no symptoms, for 10 days after the test date) and 24 hours after any fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medicine (COVID-19 Sceneries, p 4)
  • Any person who is not fully vaccinated and who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should quarantine at home. (COVID-19 Sceneries, p 4)
  • ODE says that close contacts who have been fully immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine are not required to quarantine. Fully immunized close contacts should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days after exposure, and if symptoms develop they should isolate and seek testing. (COVID-19 Sceneries, p 5)
  • All individuals 5 years of age and older are required to wear a face covering while indoors in a K-12 school, during school hours, unless they have an accommodation for a medical need or disability. Schools cannot serve a student in-person if they or their family choose not to wear a face covering. (RSSL p 9)

We have asked district leaders for an update on their plans to address any potential staffing shortage, and to reinforce safety mitigation in the schools, including mask wearing, physical distancing, and solutions for lunch-time. We are currently awaiting a response.

Wishing you health and fortitude in the New Year,

Portland Association of Teachers

President's Message: Time to Get It Right

Dear Educator, 

In the last few months, PAT has been in the spotlight, locally and nationally. Our campaign for the Time to Get It Right for our students grew directly out of your needs, ideas, and priorities. Our proposals are all designed to address the crushing stress that educators are experiencing this year, the necessity to turn around a historic staffing crisis, and the need to better serve our students during this incredibly challenging year for all of us.

We are not alone. Educators around the country, and from as far away as Brazil, have been reaching out in solidarity because they’ve experienced similar struggles and they share our vision. Together, we are all working toward a public education system that values each one of our students, and our educators and school staff. 

Here in Oregon, we are in solidarity with educators around the state. This weekend, the Oregonian published my op-ed about the workforce crisis, which was co-signed by 46 education union presidents in Oregon. The op-ed details how this workforce crisis impacts our students, and why we owe it to them to find solutions that allow beloved educators to continue in this profession– throughout this year and for the long haul.

On behalf of the entire PAT Executive Board, we are wishing you rest and rejuvenation, as well as hope this winter break, as we continue to organize for a public school system designed to enable students and educators to be their best selves. 


In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

PAT Office and Advocacy Cadre Closed for Winter Break

There will be no PAT Advocacy Cadre hours during winter break, Monday December 20 or December 27th. The Advocacy Cadre will return for regular Monday Zoom drop-ins on January 3rd, 2022 from 5:00-6:30P.M. 

The PAT office will also be closed from December 20th through December 31st. PAT staff will return January 3rd.

Overage Payments for First Semester

Article 8 in the 2020-2022 PAT Contract defines workload “thresholds” for class-size, teaching load, caseload, and the number of unique course preparations. PPS is required to compensate educators whose workload exceeds those thresholds. 

October 18th was the date for determining individual workloads and calculating overage pay for the fall semester. If you qualified for overage pay this fall, you should have received your stipend in a separate check on the November payday.

Overage pay for the second semester will be calculated on either Friday, February 18 or Tuesday, February 22, 2022 (the  third Monday date called for in the CBA is Presidents’ Day, 2/21/2022). 

If you did not receive the pay you anticipated for the first semester, please notify PPS payroll and HR immediately (using this link) and a PPS HR representative will review your information and respond about whether or not they will make any corrections. 

Teacher for a Day

On Tuesday,  December 14th the PAT Legislative Committee hosted their Teacher for a Day event. We had 23 teachers hosting school board members, legislators, legislative candidates, union leaders, and District personnel across the city. Teachers put their guests to work teaching lessons and leading small groups, and provided them with  the authentic experience of a frontline PPS educator.

After spending several hours in classrooms, teachers and their guests were invited to the PAT office for a debrief of their time in the classroom. Our teachers clearly communicated the intensive needs of so many of our students this year, and the difficulty of meeting those needs when we are under-resourced and short staffed. 

Many thanks to all our host teachers and their guests!

  • Chris Adams-Brown @  Roseway Heights hosted Colleen Connolly, Schoolhouse Supplies Programs Manager 
  • Caitlyn Angulo @  Rigler hosted Enrique Farrera, OEA Vice President 

  • Jacqueline Borean @ George hosted Sara Ryan, Multnomah County Commissioner Jayapal's Chief of Staff 

  • Megan Boyeas @  Beverly Cleary hosted Nolberto Delgadillo, PPS Chief Financial Officer 

  • Samantha Breen @  Woodmere hosted Courtney Westling, PPS Director of Government Relations 

  • Brennan Brockbank @  Grant  hosted Lisa Roth, All Hands Raised Vice President of Strategic Engagement & Communication 

  • Alisha Chavez @  Atkinson hosted Liz Large, PPS Contracted General Counsel

  • Brittany Dorris @  Capitol Hill hosted Dacia Grayber, Oregon State House Representative 

  • Sam Fisher @  Kelly hosted Casey Kulla, Yamhill County Commissioner 

  • Laura Fisher @  Roosevelt hosted Eric Delehoy, Oregon State Representative Candidate

  • Kate Good @  Beaumont hosted Jessica Vega Pederson, Multnomah County Commissioner 

  • Grace Groom  @  Markham hosted Christine Lewis, Metro Councilor 

  • Amy Henry @  Benson hosted Lori Stegmann,  Multnomah County Commissioner

  • Ginger Huizar @  George hosted Sharon Reese, PPS Chief Human Resources Officer 

  • Daniel Jacobs @  Roseway Heights hosted Andrew Scott,  PPS School Board Vice Chair 

  • Katy Janega @  Woodlawn hosted Shannon Singleton, Multnomah County Chair Candidate 

  • Cecelia Kauth @  Whitman hosted Julia Brim-Edwards, PPS School Board Member 

  • Ian Mauer @  Cleveland hosted Rob Nosse, Oregon State Representative

  • Cynthia Radler-Okby @  Roosevelt hosted Tina Kotek, Oregon Legislature Speaker of the House 

  • Laurel Richards  @  West Sylvan hosted Maxine Dexter, Oregon State House Representative 

  • Emily Robins @ Roseway Heights hosted Barbara Smith Warner, Oregon House Majority Leader 

  • Michele Stahlecker @ Harrison Park hosted Reed Scott-Schwalbach, OEA President 

  • Ciara Williams @ George hosted Eilidh Lowery, PPS Board Member

Reminder: Nominations for PAT Elections are Open

PAT is a democratic organization, and our leaders are elected by you and all our members. Our elections are held via electronic ballot in February. This year there are open positions for the following: 

  • PAT President
  • PAT Vice President
  • PAT Secretary
  • PAT Treasurer
  • PAT Executive Board Director-at-Large (5 seats)
  • OEA RA Delegate (approximately 40 seats) Nominate yourself here
  • NEA RA Delegate (approximately 28 seats, 9 of which are funded to travel)

Any PAT member in good standing may run for elected position. Nominations for these positions are now open. Nominations for Executive Board and Officer candidates will close on Friday, January 7, 2022, at 5:00 PM, and nominations for OEA and NEA RA Delegates close at 7:00 PM on January 12 at the January RA.

Learn more, and find online nomination forms on our website. Contact [email protected] with any questions about these positions.

Grants for Students in Need

When Oregon students wake up and head to school, things look different this year. But one thing hasn’t changed: our students living in shelters, struggling with poverty, navigating the foster care system or grappling with parental illness, come to school with a few less resources than other students. That’s where the OEA Foundation can step in. A new winter jacket, waterproof boots, personal hygiene products – these are the types of basic and essential needs our students have that the Foundation covers. If you have a student who needs extra support to cover the basics, consult the complete OEA Foundation guidelines today and apply with the easy online application.  

If you are able, we invite every OEA member to give through payroll deduction, even just $1 per month to the Foundation – 100% of every dollar donated goes to support Oregon public school students. 

If you are reading this, please click this link to receive a small gift from your PAT Membership Committee.