Updated on August 1, 2021
DISTRICT POSTS THE REVISED COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY MANUAL PUTTING STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES AT RISK
OCPS posted the "new version" of the OCPS COVID-19 Health and Safety Manual before the scheduled CTA bargaining session and before the August 2, 2021 date it was scheduled to be posted. Here is the link to their site: https://www.ocps.net/UserFiles/Servers/Server_54619/File/Students%20and%20Parents/School%20Reopening%202020/COVID-19%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Manual.pdf
Even as Orange County and Florida have broken records in the number of cases and hospitalizations this week, OCPS drastically reduced the health and safety protocols. The proposed revisions to the manual violate the OCCTA contract language which, among other things, requires the District to maintain safe and healthful working conditions. By instituting the changes, you will be ignoring the recommendations of health experts, undermining the threat of the virus, violating our contract, and putting employees and students at serious risk.
The District falsely claimed that changes were made because the School Board adopted a new mask policy. District leaders need to explain how disinfecting and sanitizing, social distancing, holding virtual meetings, limiting visitors, clinic procedures and other preventative language that was callously removed is related to masks!
SHAME ON OCPS!
How underhanded, devious and unethical is OCPS?
The District is supposed to send the CTA President all emails sent to every member of the bargaining unit through OCPS email on the day they are sent. On Friday, the District sent the following "News You Can Use" to all employees:
However, the District failed to send the email to President Doromal. A member of the bargaining team forwarded it to her. She then sent the following email to the District:
Not only is the District holding committee meetings when one entire party could not attend (CTA notified them that the members could not attend on that date), but they attempted to keep that fact from CTA and failed to send CTA the notification.
Ah, but it gets nastier. AFTER President Doromal sent the above email, LeighAnn Blackmore finally sent her the notification that the message was sent to all members of the bargaining unit. Below is LeighAnn's Email (See the time -6:22Pm, exactly one hour after Blackmore got President Doromal's email.)
Games much, OCPS? Stop playing! Let's get to the table and get some real health and safety measures in place to protect every employee and student.
July 31, 2021
OCPS MASK POLICY IS NOT ALIGNED WITH CDC, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS OR MAYOR DEMING'S RECOMMENDATIONS
Read the Orange County School Board mask policy:
Read the Governor's executive order
July 29, 2021
On Tuesday the Orange County School Board debated restoring a mask mandate. The current policy is that masks are optional in OCPS schools and worksites. Despite the surge of COVID-19 cases and the rise in hospitalizations in Orange County, the school board members decided to let the policy stand, leaving masks optional. The new CDC recommendation is that everyone wear masks in schools, and the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommended that masks be worn in schools. The health and safety of every student and employee should be a priority.
Today, as the new COVID-19 cases broke all records, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings declared a State of Emergency in Orange County and recommended that all residents wear masks. Also today, the Broward School Board declared that masks would be mandatory for the upcoming school year. The Chair stated, “There is no way in good conscience that I could ... not have a mask mandate.” We hope our OCPS will reverse its policy and make masks mandatory to provide the recommended protection.
Finally, Gadsen County Schools mandated masks for the upcoming year. “Right now the safest that we can be for everyone involved is to have all individuals in our building wearing face coverings of some sort,” said assistant superintendent, Dr. Sylvia Jackson.
CTA is fighting to protect the health and safety of every employee and every student. We know that teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. We are concerned that not every eligible adult and child who qualifies for a vaccine has been vaccinated, and children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccinations. That combined with a relaxation of last school year’s COVID-19 procedures, and over 200,000 students returning to schools for face-to-face classes, making the possibility of social distancing nearly impossible, we fear employees and students will be at serious risk.
Therefore, we hope that the District will reconsider their mask policy and make any “Meet the Teacher” events virtual this year, especially since there are more COVID-19 cases this year than last year at this time.
DISTRICT PROPOSES GUTTING THE COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY PROCEDURES MANUAL PUTTING STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES AT RISK!
July 19, 2021
The District sent notification to CTA that they intend to "revise" the COVID-19 Health and Procedures Manual, which is basically a unilaterally prepared policy for dealing with the pandemic and related issues.
CTA'S RECOMMENDATIONS AND COMMENTS IN RESPONSE TO THE DISTRICT'S MANUAL REVISIONS ARE AT THIS LINK: Download File (CTA REVIEW OF COVID MANUAL PROPOSED REVISIONS.pdf).
The District has never considered any of CTA's recommendations, does not consult with stakeholders and creates and enforces the policies claiming "management rights".
CTA filed action against the District for violating our MOU by revising the COVID-19 manual to move from a 14-day quarantine to a 10-day quarantine, which was against the preliminary advice of their own Medical Advisory Committee. They made the changes on December 18, 2020 without notifying or consulting with CTA until after the changes were made. What happened as a result? January 2021 had the most COVID-cases that were ever recorded in OCPS schools and worksites. In fact, there were more positive COVID-19 cases in January, than in August, September, October, November and the first weeks of December combined!
We cannot allow the District to make reckless decisions that risk the health and lives of students and employees by gutting policies.
A copy of the current OCPS COVID-19 Health and Procedures Manual is at this link: Download File (COVID-19 Health and Safety Manual.pdf)
A copy of the proposed OCPS COVID-19 Health and Procedures Manual is at this link: Download File (NEW OCPS COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual -- 20210802.pdf)
If you are concerned with the lack of protections that will be provided this school year, as the Delta variant has made cases surge in Orange County, the positivity rate is over 15%, hospitalizations are up, the School Board has made masks optional, and most students and many adults at schools and worksites will be unvaccinated, please contact school board members. (Their email addresses are at this link: https://www.ocps.net/cms/one.aspx?pageId=90156).
CTA also demanded to impact bargain the safety and health policies and offered 6 dates and also afternoons, evenings and weekends. The District rejected all of CTA's dates, and instead proposed bargaining after teachers return for pre-planning. We will keep you updated on developments.
CTA WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT TO KEEP EVERY EMPLOYEE AND EVERY STUDENT SAFE!