HEALTH AND SAFETY IN OCPS SCHOOLS - IMPASSE UPDATES

January 27, 2022

 

impasse


January 26, 2022

OCCTA PowerPoint Presentation  - Attorneys Mark Richard & Lucia Piva at THIS LINK

Testimony of OCCTA President Wendy L. Doromal at THIS LINK

We are here today because OCPS schools have unsafe and unhealthy teaching and learning conditions. We are here today because District leaders do not want a health and safety agreement that is enforceable and teachers do not want to remain unprotected in the midst of a raging pandemic without an enforceable agreement. An enforceable Health and Safety MOU, like the two that the District previously signed, would provide educators with a sense of security, and peace of mind as they continue to sacrifice and navigate through the intense challenges of teaching during a pandemic. An enforceable MOU would spell out the specific measures that must be followed to prevent even more illness and in-school spread.  An enforceable MOU is not just a moral obligation, it is a legal right.

We do not trust this District to provide needed protections without an enforceable MOU.  Over 89% of teachers surveyed this month stated they do not feel supported by District leaders and the Board in providing a safe and healthy workplace during the pandemic. This same District that refuses to sign an enforceable agreement with OCCTA signed an enforceable MOU with OESPA in July 2021.”  - OCCTA President Wendy L. Doromal

Testimony of OCCTA Board & Bargaining Team Member Clinton McCracken at THIS LINK

“An overwhelming number of comments from educators prove that the District is not enforcing its own procedures outlined in the District’s COVID-19 Procedures Manual, cannot be trusted to enforce them, and cannot be trusted not to change the manual when it becomes inconvenient.

. . . Hundreds of teachers are telling you their rooms aren’t being sanitized. . .This is why we are demanding an enforceable MOU. The current situation shows us that without it words are just words. And they are empty promises.” - Clinton W. McCracken

Testimony of OCPS Teacher & Parent John Martinez at THIS LINK

Last year, before we had a health and safety MOU, I was one of the first teachers to get COVID in the classroom and was a long hauler. The District sent me a letter stating that I could not discuss reasons related to my Medical Relief of Duty status. If I were to follow this direction, I would be denying my coworkers who I was in direct contact with the right to know that they had been exposed, and were potentially exposing others. The District’s original position was to not reveal any positive cases to teachers or parents; it was only after under a court order that the District finally started sharing this information that is so important for the health decisions of families. This is the same District that is now asking us to trust it to make all the decisions alone.”

- John Martinez

Testimony of OCPS Parent Jen Cousin OCPS is at THIS LINK

The district seems to have given up on contact tracing and transparency. When 14 students in my 6th grader’s immediate classes recently tested positive, I never even received a contact tracing communication. To make matters worse, the OCPS COVID tracking dashboard is terribly inaccurate and unhelpful. I know of several cases in my kid’s schools that were never reflected on the dashboard, nor did I receive a call about them from the school. I don’t know any parents who trust the dashboard data.” – Jen Cousins


January 21, 2022

JANUARY 2022 HEALTH AND SAFETY SURVEY

In an effort to determine what teachers are experiencing as far as healthy and safe working conditions in their schools and worksites, OCCTA put out a new Health and Safety Survey in January 2022.  While the results from this January 2022 survey often mirror the results from the previous survey given in October 2021, this survey clearly shows teachers are having a much more difficult time teaching through a pandemic this school year than last school year.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to take our survey so we can evaluate what steps we need to take to ensure that there are safe and healthy working and learning conditions in every school. We heard from educators representing over 200 separate schools and worksites in every learning community and corner of our District!

We know that having an enforceable Health and Safety MOU as we did last school year and also for summer school is something that will provide you with security, reduce your stress and make your job safer and easier. OCCTA is fighting for an enforceable MOU!

While the responses to the survey questions were very revealing, the pages of survey comments gave a vivid snapshot of what is happening in the schools across the District.

Below are some of the survey results:

Overall, how would you rate this school year?

Only 13% felt it was “fine” while the vast majority 54% are struggling a lot or overwhelmed and others 33% are struggling a little.

Have you considered leaving your job due to health and safety concerns?

A staggering 52% of teachers surveyed are considering other employment, early retirement or a leave of absence.

Do you feel supported by the District leaders and the School Board in providing a safe and healthy workplace during the pandemic?

A total of 87% of teachers do NOT feel supported by District leaders and the School Board, up 17% from the October 2021 survey.

How safe do you feel at your school or worksite?

A total of 53% are anxious and so not feel safe, while 38% feel moderately safe and 9% feel safe. 

How important is it for you to have an Health and Safety MOU that CTA can enforce as contract language?

An overwhelming  majority – 89% believe it is important to have an enforceable MOU, 8% say it is somewhat important and only 3% say it is not important.

Is the District transparent in the reporting of Covid-19 cases at your school or worksite?

A total of 49% of teachers do NOT believe that the District is transparent in the reporting of COVID-19 cases at your school or worksite.

Have you been contacted by an administrator when an employee or student has tested positive at your school or worksite?

Only 36% of those surveyed believe they are always contacted when there are positive cases; 42% say they are contacted sometimes and 23% say they are NOT contacted. 

Have you been informed of positive cases at your school that were not reported by your administrator? Check all that apply.

A total of 74% of those surveyed have been informed of positive COVID-19 cases at their school or worksite that were not reported to them by their administration – 28% from a coworker, 22% from parents, 23% by students and 1% by the media.

Have you been exposed to COVID-19 at your school or worksite this school year? (As confirmed officially by the FL DOH)

A total of 38% of those surveyed were exposed to COVID-19 at their school this year, which is up 10% from the earlier survey conducted in October 2021.

Have you been quarantined this school year?

A total of 16% of those surveyed have been quarantined once this school year (up 9% from the October 2021 survey) and 2% have been quarantined multiple times.

Have you been given directions on how to obtain more PPE?

A total of 48% of teacher, almost half, have not been given direction on how to obtain more PPE, up 7% since the last survey conducted in October 2021.

How often is your classroom or office cleaned?

Only 31% say their workspace is cleaned every day during this pandemic, with 20% saying a few times a week, 9% saying weekly and 40% saying they don’t know.  

Have areas where positive cases been identified been deep cleaned or misted?

Only 9% say they areas are always deep cleaned or misted; 9% say they are sometimes deep cleaned and misted, 28% say they are not and 54% do not know.

Please read the comments for the survey questions below:

Have you been informed of positive cases at your school that were not reported by your administrator? Read the pages of the comments AT THIS LINK

  • Several students have been absent, parents have indicated they called the school's front office to let them know that their child or someone in their household tested positive. They have left messages and these calls were not returned. 
  • When we are notified, it is often two weeks later, so it’s too late to do anything.
  • Students are testing positive in my classroom who sit less than 3 feet from my desk, and I have not been contacted regarding contact tracing by the school or DOH.
  • A lot of parents are not going through proper channels to report Covid cases. Therefore, the number of cases are being underreported. 
  • The dashboard is too confusing. We get calls that our school has positive cases associated with the school, but no exact number is provided for the community and staff to make decisions as to how bad it really is.
  • I am currently sick at home with Covid. My class has not been notified that there are Covid cases in the classroom. Last week there were Covid cases in my classroom. One student was there all 4 days and the parent notified me on Sunday evening that her daughter has tested positive for Covid and that entire family has Covid. I was in close contact with the child and the mother every day at dismissal. On Monday, January 10, I tested positive for Covid.
  • To say there's a lag between the district's dashboard and Edgewater High School's actual numbers would be a gross understatement.  I've had several students contact me indicating they had Covid, but have not received one email indicating I came into contact.  Janitors are not sanitizing rooms as they did last year, and we have to beg to get masks.
  • We get calls from my admin about cases but they are not listed properly on dashboard by OCPS. I had a student come to school all day on Thursday and test positive right after school and still have no received a call for his case.
  • I had a student who told me that she has 3 positive cases in her household and that she is taking care of her family. I reported this and was told because she is asymptomatic that she does not have to quarantine, take a test, or have proof of vaccination as per the new OCPS Health and Safety manual that was updated and changed without bargaining as of 1-5-2022. 

WHAT PPE HAVE YOU BEEN PROVIDED? Read the pages of comments at THIS LINK

  • We are given nothing as the teachers, we have expired wipes with mold, no hand sanitizer, and the cloth mask (only for students) are way too big for them. No PPE has been provided since the fall of 2021 and it was only one box of masks, one package of Lysol wipes, and one regular size bottle of sanitizer. I’ve been spending my own money on cleaning/sanitizing supplies.
  • Now I’m having to invest in KN95 masks because it is recommended by the CDC to not use cloth masks any longer due to the Omicron virus. KN95 masks are not cheap.
  • I have been needing masks. I have brought pack after pack and when I run out, I ask for more yet I am told that there are no more.

  • NONE PROVIDED THIS YEAR. Masks were requested, but request was denied stating that "We want students to bring their own".

  • I teach very young children and the few masks initially provided by district for children are way too big for my students. I rely on donations and purchasing disposable masks myself for the children. 

  • The wipes that we all received have mold on them. 

  • The cloth masks the county keeps providing are terrible, I have 3 bags of them that I don't know what to do with (they are too large for students) and the hand sanitizer they provided smells terrible, and I still have multiple bottles unopened stored in my classroom from last year. 

  • Was given in beginning of year and was gone by September. Had to purchase disposable masks for my students.

  • The reusable masks are ill fitting and fall off the students' faces. The hand sanitizer is watery and makes a mess. It smells disgusting too so the students are hesitant to use it. There is no soap in some of the restrooms.

  •  5 reusable masks and an 8oz hand sanitizer. This was gone the first 2 days of school. Have not received anything since August. 

HAVE YOU SPENT YOUR PERSONAL MONEY ON PPE? Read the pages of comments at THIS LINK

  • The big purchase was my air purifier (medical grade) about $180. School funds by OCPS would not cover it. I used teacher monies for all other supplies so far this academic year. 
  • I have to spend my money on KN95 masks to be able to do my job safely. I do not buy N95 because they are too expensive. 
  • I had to purchase a test when a student I spent a lot of time with tested positive for Covid. There were no free testing sites available for a week.
  • I purchase my own disposable masks, kn95 masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner, and sanitizing wipes.
  • New disposable masks required daily for my students for my program. Was told school would not provide and I had to purchase them using my “classroom fees”. 
  • The sanitizer that is provided by the district smells terrible. Kids hate it and it makes me nauseous. I buy my own or ask parents for donations. 
  • The hand sanitizer from the district is disgusting and no one wants to use it. I rather spend money on something my kids will use. 
  • I had to spend $100 on my N95 masks from Amazon because we don’t get them. I also spend about $20 a month getting kid sized masks because the ones the school hands out are way too big. 

COMMENTS ON CLEANING Read the pages of comments at THIS LINK

  • Classroom cleaning means the garbage is dumped and maybe the floor is swept- THAT'S IT.  The same dirty spots remain on the floor for over three months now.  There is no deep cleaning despite positive cases in my class.
  • I have had multiple students test positive and my classroom hasn't been cleaned in over a month.
  • I do not feel like my classrooms are being properly cleaned and sanitized. I’ve come in every day since October to find tile floors not mopped, desks not wiped, and my bathroom sink not cleaned. When covid first started, high touch points were sanitized throughout the day, not anymore.
  • The custodians are understaffed, and my trash cans are emptied every day, however, the floor is not swept, and desks are not wiped down. I kept track and my floor has been swept an average of once a month his year and the desks have never been wiped down to my knowledge.
  • Cleaning does not happen!!!! Classrooms only get trash emptied. Hallways and classrooms do not get swept. Surfaces do not get sanitized or even wiped down.
  • Cleaning was going well at the beginning of the year but now we do not have enough custodians
  • I am the cleaner of my classroom. My floor is almost never swept/mopped. I've seen the custodian come in and spot clean or wipe down the desks on the perimeter. We have purchased our own vacuum, brooms, Swiffer mops, etc.
  • I use various offices/classrooms and when I wipe tables/surfaces at these places you can tell I’m the only one doing it. There is NO soap . Yesterday the school I went to had bathrooms with no soap in dispensers at all.
  • Our school is not clean! It is not disinfected like it’s supposed to be. Our floors, bathrooms, and toilets are mopped with the same mop. Our sinks are very gross. Door handles are very gross.
  • There are not enough custodians to clean like they did last year.  There is no misting going on.  No wipe down of door handles or railings in the middle of the day.  This was something I would hope they would upkeep.  For several weeks before break, my room wasn't being cleaned.

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU FEEL SAFER? Read the pages of comments at THIS LINK

  • Guaranteed sanitization of my classroom, smaller class size that would be able to properly social distance, clearer communication when one of my students have covid related absences (I.e. did I come in contact with them before they were quarantined)
  • When positive cases are confirmed a deep cleaning of rooms instead of a hit and miss spray of mist on desk, vents are not cleaning, filters (we all breathe the same exposed air, KN95 or N95 mask provided.
  • Better PPE, better cleaning, better Air Filtration system. My health has suffered.
  • Not being in school. My mental health has declined rapidly since the beginning of the school year.
  • I wish students were required to wear masks just as adults are.
  • More social distancing, less meetings in close quarters, a lot more cleaning, and mandatory face masks for all - including students.
  • Mandatory masks, classroom cleaned daily (not just taking out the trash and picking things up off the floor), having admin and leadership that isn't so vocal about their dislike of masking and annoyance of covid protocols, proper fitting masks for students, hand sanitizer that didn't smell horrendously so students will actually want to use it, social distancing anywhere would be an improvement, suspension of small group instruction requirements while in the middle of a gigantic surge with no masking, soap in all of the restrooms that doesn't have to be bought by staff.

IF YOUR WORKLOAD HAS INCREASED, PLEASE DETAIL EXTRA DUTIES, INCLUDING THOSE RELATED TO THE PANDEMIC.  Read the pages of comments at THIS LINK

  • I have to clean my own room after school. Toilets, floors, tables, everything. If we don’t take out our garbage and do these things, then it doesn’t happen.
  • I was already having to spend 2 hours a day after school, but between 30-60% of my students are absent on any given day since we can back from Winter Break. The increase in student and parent communications and late assignments has made things much tougher.
  • Cleaning, double the work due to posting things for absent children, constantly being asked to provide more and more detailed seating charts, even though they have never been used to contact trace, as we don’t quarantine.
  • Answering student and parent letters to keep students doing their work, even though I have a protocol that hasn't changed all year.
    I have to clean my room to make sure we don't spread anything.
    I have to place phone calls, email parents for non-attendance.
    I have to inform admin through massive questionnaire/charts with documentation if a student is making a D or an F.
    Make copies IF we have paper, otherwise I have to go buy my own.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING? Read the pages of comments at THIS LINK

  • There is no social distancing in place. There are no preventatives in place. No quarantines, no phone calls, cases not being reported it’s craziness. 
  • Class sizes are normal and full there is no social distance. 32 in a class with 4 at a table 
  • We are forced to have in person meetings and when we mention that we do not feel comfortable with having the meeting admin gets upset with us. We are bringing our own wipes and disinfecting sprays to clean the area we will be at during the meeting. 
  • All meetings need to be virtual. Teachers have passed away this year from Covid-19 & it is ridiculous that we do not have the option to at least have virtual meetings. 
  • Elective teachers have it rough. There is no legal cap on class size. Some of us have 50+ In one room. It’s a free for all COVID jungle. Corner Lake MS
  • No social distance taking place. Classrooms and bathrooms are not being cleaned.  Classrooms and common areas have not been cleaned after positive cases. 
  • Mandatory in-person meetings where people are shoulder to shoulder in conference rooms with people wearing cloth masks and/or not covering mouth and nose (etc) has been very stressful this year. I have had multiple close contact exposures and never once contacted by DOH or any administrator.

READ SOME ADDITIONAL TEACHER AND PARENT CONCERNS AT THIS LINK.

Read about Dashboard Transparency and the Never Ending Battle for COVID-19 Information At THIS LINK

Please scroll down to the page bottom to read numerous articles concerning the Union's advocacy for healthy and safe teaching and learning conditions, the lack of adequate health and safety protocols,  the failure to adhere to policies at OCPS schools and worksites, and other related articles.


HEALTH AND SAFETY IMPASSE RECOMMENDATIONS ISSUED

Special Magistrate Nicholas Taldone's decision concerning the health and safety during the pandemic is summarized below.  Please read his decision at this link. (Download File (Amended Discussion and Recommended Decision 11 24 21.pdf)

Health and Safety Impasse

From Magistrate’s Discussions and Recommended Decision :

  • [Teachers'] passion and dedication are directly related to the future of our children. . . A local government has a fiscal interest in maintaining the quality and morale of its teachers.
  • It cannot be disputed that as a result of the Legislation, students and teachers' safety has not improved. It also is undisputed that there is a difficulty in retaining teachers and hiring new teachers. If teachers are out sick, education will be compromised.
  • The Special Magistrate's approach, as discussed below, is to continue the safeguards for students' and teachers' safety that the Union proposes in the MOU to the extent operationally and practically possible in view of this shifting landscape and the new Legislation, parts of which will most certainly be litigated for years to come.
  • The duration should be the end of the 2021-2022 school year. One related issue to the above and which affects the entire MOU is the enforceability of the MOU. The MOU must be clear and enforceable.
  • The fact that the Union is special, partner-like, stakeholder militates in favor of the Union’s proposal [regarding informing OCCTA and all employees regarding positive cases].

Some of the recommendations include:

  • This Memorandum of Understanding relates to safely operating schools through June 2022.
  • The COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual latest version as of the date of the execution of this agreement, is hereby incorporated to this MOU as if fully set forth herein.
  • Vendors or classroom visitors or volunteers must comply with all other safety protocols, including those established by this MOU.
  • Each school shall expand school clinic capabilities with triage and have at least one separate isolation room that can be used to isolate symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive individuals.
  • Cleaning/disinfecting areas used by the person who is symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive.
  • Informing OCCTA and all employees at the worksite whenever a student, employee, or visitor at a worksite has tested positive for COVID-19. OCCTA will be provided with a weekly update of these worksites. The OCPS “dashboard” may be utilized for this purpose provided the OCPS uses reasonable efforts to immediately update all incidents.
  • Bargaining unit employees will have the option to virtually attend any and all meetings, where legal and possible. Provided parents may request face to face meetings if possible. Virtual meetings may be recorded. Any other administrator communications will be conducted via email.
  • When conducting home visits, bargaining unit employees, including Social Workers, may not be required to enter homes unless entering the home has a legitimate operational need.
  • Teachers will also not be held responsible for any adverse consequences of face coverings; COVID-19 cases traced to their classroom; or curriculum requirements that cannot be followed due to social distancing requirements or class closures.
  • Teachers will not be penalized for choosing to maintain any distancing prescribed by FDOH and will not be marked down in their evaluation for not walking around the classroom if doing so would violate such distancing.
  • The parties agree to further establish, in writing, best practices and mechanisms to monitor and enforce established safety protocols, and to revisit the subjects addressed herein, as necessitated by parent, student, and employee feedback; FDOH updates; recommendations from health authorities; changes in the law; changes of the course or severity of the Pandemic; and the evolving needs of parents, students, and employees.

January 11, 2022 and Update January 19, 2022

HEALTH AND SAFETY CRISIS AT DISTRICT SCHOOLS DISCLOSED AT JANUARY ASSOCIATION REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL MEETING

At the Association Representative Council Meeting last evening Association Representative after Association Representative  spoke up about severe health and safety concerns, including custodian staff shortages resulting in no cleaning or partial cleaning of classrooms and other areas, no soap in restrooms, no PPE at the schools,  and other concerns at schools across the District.  

Specific Concerns:

  • Schools not providing masks for students or only providing cloth masks that are too large and ill-fitting for elementary school children
  • Schools not providing KN95 masks when requested
  • Schools not providing sanitizer or disinfectant wipes
  • No soap in the restrooms
  • Classrooms and common areas not being cleaned or disinfected regularly or at all
  • Custodian vacancies or custodians out sick resulting in no cleaning being done, rooms not cleaned or vacuumed for a week, only trash collected.
  • Principals telling teachers that because there is no MOU with the Union they do not have to provide masks/PPE. This was documented by a school's Faculty Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes:

"Students forgetting masks. . .Contractually, there is no longer the COVID-19 Healthy and Safety MOU to provide this." (11-21 FAC minutes)

"Mask distribution issues - principal reported that they were almost  out and likely wouldn’t need more since he was thinking the mask policy would change at the end of the month."(10-21 FAC minutes)

"COVID-19 safety: minimal cleaning; staffing shortage

Mask distribution issues -Send students to front office hub for masks, May not be an issue after 10/30; rotating custodians; problems worse on third floor; rotate where they start"

  • No disinfecting or spraying areas where individuals who tested positive were with mist disinfectant
  • Administrators telling teachers because masks are no longer mandated for children, they don't have to provide them
  • Classrooms not being cleaned for days in a row
  • Schools continuing to switch students for interventions, and not providing cleaning of common areas between the classes. No disinfectant wipes to properly clean.
  • Teachers/students testing positive and being told they must return to  school because they are asymptomatic
  • No quarantines at schools with high confirmed COVID-19 cases 
  • Concern over parents sending COVID-19 positive children to school

If you have a concern please email us at orangecta@gmail.com

One AR and teacher outraged by the District's failure to provide safe and healthy working and learning conditions spoke up on behalf of the other ARs and teachers on Channel 6 News .

The District's Communication Director, Scott Howat attacked the Union when interviewed suggesting we were not credible or truthful.  He failed to acknowledge a problem or offer a solution. Instead he did just what too many District leaders do - he deflected, misrepresented and attacked the messenger. And this is why teachers do not trust the District to actually put protective measures in place.  This is why we are fighting for an enforceable MOU. Below is the transcript of the interview: 

Teachers Union Accuses Orange School District of Disregarding COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Matt Austin: Some Orange County teachers at their wit's end they say five months into the school year there's still no plan to keep them safe from COVID-19. They said they're even having to buy their own personal protective equipment. Glad you are with us tonight, I am Matt Austin.

Ginger Gadsden: I'm Ginger Gadsden, now a special meeting to discuss safety has been canceled. And as News 6 Nadeen Yanes, reports teachers are still waiting for answers and supplies.

Nadeen Yanes: We are seeing some of the highest COVID-19 cases in classrooms here in Orange County this semester. This while the teachers union and the district are at an impasse over COVID-19 Safety and Health protocols and a chance to resolve the issue was postponed this week.

John Martinez: Teachers have to beg, and our administrators have to beg for masks and wipes and sanitizer.

Nadeen Yanes: Third grade teacher John Martinez said he and his fellow teachers at a title one school in Orange County are forced to buy more masks and supplies on their own during yet another COVID-19 spike in classrooms.

John Martinez: So OCPS just likes to play the game of like oh we are providing masks.  They gave us this and pretend that’s enough.

Nadeen Yanes: These grievances, Martinez said he's expressing not only individually but on behalf of teachers as part of the Union, now at an impasse over COVID health and safety protocols inside classrooms.

John Martinez: OCPS every day sends the message out to parents and says the infected areas has being disinfected and clean and everybody knows that works for OCPS, that it's not happening. One. Two, spend some money that you got from the federal government for masks, and sanitizer and cleaning supplies.

Nadeen Yanes: But OCPs school district spokesperson Scott Howatt says the district is doing all those things.

Scott Howatt: All of the safety protocols,  the pandemic precautions are all there and we're continuing to do those things.

Nadeen Yanes: If that's the complete opposite from what we're hearing from teachers actually in the classroom. How do we solve that for our viewers?

Scott Howatt: So are you hearing that from the union or are you hearing that from actual teachers?

Nadeen Yanes: He is a teacher who's a part of the Union, he is saying that they get 12 masks a week and then they run out of those masks immediately. They are cloth masks so they don't fit the third graders well enough.

Scott Howatt: So we have plenty of masks in our warehouse so the school just needs to put in a request to the principal to have more masks sent over.

Nadeen Yanes: So again at yesterday's school board meeting they decided to postpone this special hearing by the school board with no future date as to when this will be resolved. In Orange County.

The masks should be in the schools and worksites -not in the warehouse. Hundreds of teachers do NOT have PPE, including masks!  

OCCTA also wants to acknowledge that over that last few months several high school teachers (not this teacher) who have spoken to the media have been hauled into their principal's office and quizzed and intimidated. District leaders need to learn to work collaboratively with the union and stakeholders to SOLVE problems instead of constantly covering them up.  Educators will not allow their employer to deny their freedom of speech.


UPDATE - Thank you for all of your emails. We hope all of you with COVID-19 have a very speedy recovery. 

OCCTA has purchased some children masks, adult sized masks, disinfectant wipes and sanitizers.  Let us know your needs. President Doromal and Maribel Rigsby are delivering supplies to those who are at schools and worksites with no PPE. 

 

    delivery  ppe

 


January 20, 2022

School Board Decides Impasse Meeting Parameters

Today the School Board decided the parameters of the impasse hearing. They agreed to change the starting time to 4:00pm, which will allow people to get off from work and watch the hearing. The hearing will take place at 4:00pm on January 26 at the RBELC. It will be broadcast live on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/OCCTA7448 .

The others limits the board members agreed to were disappointing. Instead of allowing 90 minutes for each side to argue their case, they agreed to only 45 minutes. They reasoned that the salary impasse had four issues and this impasse has less., so they should denote less time.  We are concerned that the school board does not view the discussion of health and safety during a raging pandemic  - a life or death issue - as important enough to allow enough time to listen to the voices of the Union that represents all 14,200 members of the bargaining unit.  We do not believe that a thorough and fair hearing can be conducted within these limits.

When the board made the decision to postpone the health and safety impasse hearing scheduled for January 18th to a later meeting date, they stated some members could not be in attendance on that date and "it was too important an issue not to have every member present."  We agree, and it is too important an issue not to allow a full and thorough discussion to allow teachers to be heard.


January 14, 2022

IMPASSE DATE SET

Finally, after four days of emails and phone calls, our attorneys were informed that the District will hold the Health and Safety Impasse Hearing on January 26, 2022 at 3:30pm.  We asked that the hearing be held at 4:00pm so teachers could view it live on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OCCTA7448).  Additionally, we asked that each party have 90 minutes to present their case. The District attorney states each party will only have 45 minutes. OCCTA attorneys are challenging these unjust and restrictive  guidelines. 

Please scroll down to the page bottom to read numerous articles concerning the Union's advocacy for healthy and safe teaching and learning conditions, the lack of adequate health and safety protocols,  the failure to adhere to policies at OCPS schools and worksites, and other related articles.


January 12, 2022

Message from the President:

Dear Members of the Bargaining Unit:

We want to correct some misinformation in the District’s latest News You Can Use email. The District’s half-truths are always regrettable, and are particularly troubling when it comes to matters of health and safety.

The District says that health and safety are a priority, but its actions reveal the truth. OCCTA has heard from teachers all across the District that their classrooms are not being cleaned; there is an inadequate supply of masks, soap, sanitizer and other PPE for students and teachers; teachers and parents are not being made aware of positive cases and exposures; sick educators are being asked to teach; and there are no uniform procedures throughout OCPS. Teachers report that they have been told by their principals they no longer have to adhere to safety guidelines because there is no MOU this year!  These are the crucial issues that are at stake in the disputed agreement—an MOU that the District wants to be able to change at any time to evade accountability.

Health and Safety are not an OCPS priority. Otherwise, the District would not have postponed the upcoming impasse on these very issues that had been already scheduled for January 18, 2022. OCCTA never agreed to delay this matter. District leaders do not seem to understand the sense of urgency as this pandemic rages, and just how unsafe teachers, parents and students feel in the schools and worksites.

Health and Safety are not an OCPS priority. OCPS has been delaying health and safety decisions since the beginning of the school year, and is forcing teachers to again resolve through impasse the same issues that were already decided by a Magistrate last year. It is disheartening that teachers must fight for clear and enforceable health and safety rights.

Teachers deserve to know what their rights are. They deserve to be able to enforce those rights. Teachers and students deserve to feel and be safe in school.

Please go to this link for more information and to read both Special Magistrates’ reports.

Stay safe and healthy,

Wendy L. Doromal

President


January 11, 2022

SCHOOL BOARD POSTPONES HEALTH & SAFETY IMPASSE HEARING

The District postponed the Health and Safety Impasse Hearing.  They stated that some school board members could not attend and they felt "it was too important an issue not to have everyone in attendance." We will update you when we have a new date.


PLEASE GO TO THE LINKS BELOW TO READ RELATED ARTICLES

Go to THIS LINK to read Special Magistrate Holland's Impasse Ruling from last year.

Health & Safety Crisis Revealed at  January AR Council Meeting at THIS LINK

Dashboard Transparency and the Never Ending Battle for COVID-19 InformationTHIS LINK

Washington Post Chronicles OCPS Teachers Resigning Because of Unsafe Working Conditions THIS LINK

OCPS Responds to Corcoran Concerning Mask Policy THIS LINK

Health and Safety Committee Minutes at THIS LINK

Superintendent and School Board Reverse Mask Policy THIS LINK

School Board Meetings Unsafe - District's Own Policies Not Followed THIS LINK

School Board  Rule Development Meeting a Circus THIS LINK

OCPS Medical Advisory Committee Advice Ignored by School Board THIS LINK

District COVID-19 Procedures Shared With School Board Members THIS LINK

District Unilaterally Guts the OCPS COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual  THIS LINK  

Press Conference with State Lawmakers & School Board Meeting THIS LINK

OCPS Changes Mask Policy AGAIN -Student Opt -Out THIS LINK

OCPS Mask Policy to Be Determined  Tomorrow THIS LINK

State Board of Education Meeting Supported Governor's Political Agenda This Link

State Sends Non-Compliance Letter to School Board THIS LINK

New Surgeon General Issues Parent Choice Quarantine Rule THIS LINK

Health and Safety Impasse 2021 THIS LINK

Letters to DeSantis and Florida District Superintendents from U.S. Secretary of Education THIS LINK

District Posts Unilateral Health and Safety Manual THIS LINK

President Doromal Joins U.S. Congresswoman Val Demings to Advocate for Passage of the American Rescue Plan and Vaccines THIS LINK

Agreement on Summer School  Health and Safety Provisions Reached THIS LINK

District Violates 12-8-21 MOU THIS LINK

Is COVID-19 Spread in OCPS Schools? THIS LINK

OCPS Universal Mask Mandate THIS LINK

CTA Prevails in Lawsuit Against District on Health and Safety THIS LINK  and District Fails to Follow Court Order to Provide Health and Safety Documents THIS LINK