December 8, 2020
The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association is pleased to announce that after two days of meetings, the District has agreed to accept the Special Magistrate’s recommendation with minor language changes in 4 of the over 40 provisions.
Finally, after over 6 months of negotiations, educators can be assured that they will have some health and safety provisions related to the COVID pandemic. Please see signed Memorandum of Understanding at this link: /z/-vf.0.0.0.11441.99E4804129ADF802061CFEC15A17C4EC3429A37E836056BF08C054A2063D1B7D .
OCCTA will continue to advocate for safe and healthy working conditions and we will work with you to ensure strict adherence to contract language. Every educator and every student should be teaching and learning in the safest classrooms and buildings possible during this pandemic. Every employee should have the assurance that decisions will put health and lives before economic or political agendas.
Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay hopeful.
Wendy L. Doromal
-December 3, 2020
The Real Facts
(Rather Than the Misleading “Facts” That OCPS Sent Out to Teachers on December 3rd)
DISTRICT STATEMENT: “Yesterday, the District informed the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) that it agreed to accept the vast majority of the Special Magistrate’s recommendations (some in favor of the district and some in favor of CTA) provided after the October 6 impasse hearing to settle disagreements on reopening schools. The MOU would be valid through the end of this school year.”
REAL FACTS AND INFORMATION LEFT OUT: The District did not tell you that OCCTA and the District received the Special Magistrate’s decision three weeks ago, on Friday, November 13th. Knowing the urgency of the matter, OCCTA asked the District several times to accept the recommendations and to respond. This is what the District’s Attorney, John Palmerini, finally responded to one such request on November 20th: “We are reviewing the Special Magistrate’s report. As you are aware, we have a statutory period to do so. You will have our response within the statutory period,” then they proceeded to wait until the very end of that period even as Covid-19 cases continued to spike.
The attorney’s statement, which mocked teachers’ sense of urgency, showed a total disregard for safety and was simply a demonstration of excessive control and authority at the expense of educators. It’s confirmation that the District truly does not give a damn about the fear teachers are feeling in the crowded schools and classrooms where social distancing is impossible. The District clearly does not care that teachers are stressed and considering resigning, even as they lack substitutes to fill absences. The four recommendations that the District did not accept would help to replace some of the fear and stress with peace of mind and a real sense of security—but the District remains indifferent to that reality.
“However, there were four recommendations that the District did not accept, including:
- the recommendation that the procedures contained in the MOU shall be implemented in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) unless otherwise mutually agreed to by both the District and CTA. The district should consider the recommendations of local health officials and industry guidance to the extent such recommendations and guidance do not conflict with the CDC.
o The District relies heavily on CDC guidance, including: the CDC’s Coronavirus 2019 Considerations for Schools; the CDC’s Considerations for K-12 schools Readiness and Planning Tools; the CDC’s Coronavirus 2019 Schools and Child Care Programs guidance and the CDC’s Importance of Reopening America’s Schools in the Fall guidance. However, any present or future CDC guidance which conflicts with the Emergency Orders issued by the Florida Commissioner of Education cannot be followed.”
REAL FACTS AND INFORMATION LEFT OUT: It is illogical to minimize the importance of the CDC guidelines. In fact, the District mentions them repeatedly in their COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual and should not be afraid of being held accountable to them.
Refusal to implement health and safety practices in a manner consistent with CDC guidance highlights the District’s unwillingness to commit to keeping teachers and students safe. Unlike OCPS, several other Districts throughout the state have chosen to base decisions and operations on science, safety, and common sense, and already included this or similar language in their safety agreements. In spite of the District’s disingenuous and flawed excuses for rejecting this critical language, there is no real reason for its rejection other than the desire to continue making decisions based on political agendas and expediency instead of following the advice of the nation’s leading health authority.
“· the recommendation to allow teachers on leave to work other jobs without seeking approval of the Superintendent as provided in the contract.
o Currently, teachers may take leave for up to one year compared to the standard 12 weeks. To allow any teacher to take leave and work elsewhere for a year while their position is covered by a temporary contract teacher or substitute is a disadvantage to students. The District approves requests to work for Kelly Services while on leave, as they are still serving OCPS students.”
REAL FACTS AND INFORMATION LEFT OUT: The teachers who applied for long-term leave did so because they fear for their health and their lives, or the health and lives of their family members. They made a difficult, but responsible decision. They are the teachers with serious medical conditions or that have families with serious medical conditions, who were nevertheless told that they would have to teach face-to-face classes, despite their physician’s advice not to. How is allowing teachers to support themselves and their families, to be able to make their insurance payments, to be able to survive during a pandemic in any way a disadvantage to students!? What? The teacher is on leave regardless of whether they are allowed to secure temporary employment, so there has to be a substitute anyway.
Other District’s allow teachers to work while they are on long-term leave without needing permission from their district or superintendent. How long would it take the superintendent to respond to a request while survival hangs in the balance? Would it take as long as it takes the District to respond to information requests, (which is sometimes months)? Would it take as long as it takes to respond to some emails, (which is sometimes never)? What teacher who is told that they aren’t allowed support themselves during a leave of absence to protect their health during a pandemic will return to work for such a cold-hearted employer?
This response is mean-spirited, cruel, and lacking of any compassion or concern.
“· the recommendation to reduce class sizes to spread student desks to at least 6 feet.
o The State of Florida dictates class size and funds districts accordingly. No additional revenues have been received to further reduce classes and to set lower sizes for electives and special area classes. Without additional funds, this recommendation would potentially require teachers currently instructing from home to return to campus, with most instructing a hybrid class (face to face and LaunchED@Home). Additional teachers and classrooms would be needed and significant student schedule changes for the second semester would be required.”
REAL FACTS AND INFORMATION LEFT OUT:
The State of Florida does dictate class size limits, but does not prohibit smaller class sizes. Moreover, the District sought, and has been given an exemption to exceed recommended class size limits. OCPS has abused this exemption to the detriment of overworked teachers for years. The District wants to continue this “privilege” during the pandemic while it knows (or should know) that social distancing is essential to ensure health and safety. The District’s position puts money over lives.
Refusal to implement 6 feet physical distancing in classrooms, as possible is even in conflict with the District’s own COVID-19 manual. The Magistrate’s recommendation gives the District flexibility where 6 feet social distancing is not possible, yet the District refuses to even commit to the best and safest standards where it has the ability to do so.
“· the recommendation regarding teachers instructing LaunchED@Home and face-to-face students at the same time. The Special Magistrate recommended the District negotiate with CTA a process to determine teacher assignments, giving preference for LaunchED@Home positions to those who are high risk or caring for someone who is high risk.
o The District already gave preference to teachers who are high risk or caring for someone who is high risk when making teaching assignments at the beginning of the school year, but was limited based on parent registrations. Trying to negotiate a process at this point for the second semester would be disruptive to students and teachers. It would also violate the right of the District to make teacher assignments and set minimum staffing levels under state law.”
REAL FACTS AND INFORMATION LEFT OUT: The District’s refusal to adopt language that teachers will preferably not be required to simultaneously perform both virtual and face-to-face instruction, conflicts with their acknowledgement that this may not always be possible. The District’s refusal to recognize the importance of a balanced workload, while maintaining the scheduling flexibility it desires, is stunning.
“The District hopes that CTA will agree with our effort to accept significant recommendations, with only four exceptions which we believe are not in the best interest of students and teachers. If CTA rejects the district’s proposal, a hearing in front of the School Board, sitting as the legislative body, is required. So, at this point, the School Board is legally prohibited from discussing the issues with teachers, the union or Superintendent until the matter is settled. We will keep you updated on the process.”
REAL FACTS AND INFORMATION LEFT OUT: This statement is so absurd, that it is offensive. To omit CDC guidelines, to omit language for social distancing, to prohibit teachers trying to protect their health and lives from being able to support themselves while on leave, to expect teachers to teach two classes simultaneously (bad practice for teachers and students) is a slap in the face for every member of our bargaining unit. It demonstrates disrespect, a lack of compassion and common sense, and incredible callousness. These guidelines do not just impact the safety and health of teachers, but of every student and every employee.
What is missing from the District’s entire message is any sense of urgency, and any sincere statement of concern for the well-being of educators, students, and other employees.
Members of the bargaining unit may freely give their opinions. Please feel free to post them on OCCTA’s Facebook page and social media or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them on this page.
-December 2, 2020
Today the District sent a "notice of partial rejection" to OCCTA in response to the special magistrate's recommendation. We received the special magistrate's recommendation on November 13, 2020. The district rejected essential provisions of the recommendation, even as OCCTA was willing to compromise and let some go.
You can read the District's response at this link. This issue will now be brought to the school board for a legislative hearing.
-November 16, 2020
On Friday, November 13th OCCTA received the recommended decision of the special magistrate, Martin O. Holland. I consider the special magistrate’s decision a victory for OCCTA and for every member of our bargaining unit.
The Special Magistrate's Decision is at Download File (Holland- ImpasseRecommendation.pdf)
Our bargaining team was determined to protect every teacher and student during this pandemic and worked tirelessly from June to August during the OCCTA bargaining team members’ summer break, trying to reach an agreement with the District concerning the safe reopening of our schools. OCCTA declared impasse on August 6th when it became apparent that even though classes were set to begin, the District would not bargain in good faith with OCCTA to protect students, teachers and the community at large. The District rejected the implementation of all CDC recommendations and the majority of the language that the union proposed.
The impasse hearing was held on October 6 and 7, 2020. (The video-proceedings are posted on the OCCTA Facebook page.) In the 19-page decision, the special magistrate accepted the majority of the important aspects of the MOU that OCCTA introduced and the District rejected.
The Special Magistrate said:
“Covid-19 is an unprecedented pandemic. Not since the Spanish Flu in 1918 has such an influenza pandemic caused such long-term health problems and deaths. Florida, today, is reaching over 6,000 new cases per day. Over 17,000 Floridians have died from Covid-19. The covid pandemic, by a preponderance of medical experts, will continue for years. No vaccine will be available until 2021, if even then. Pfizer has just announced a pending vaccine.
In August 2020, the Florida Commissioner of Education ordered the SBOC to open their brick and mortar schools for face-to-face instruction. Teachers have been and will be exposed to Covid-19 and could infect their own families. The parties negotiated the current CBA but never contemplated such an extensive pandemic. The CBA did not include provisions for pandemic safety procedures or employee conditions. This unique pandemic outbreak mandates that the parties seek solutions and guidelines to ensure safety for its personnel. Teachers' health and safety is a significant term and condition of employment requiring impact bargaining under the Florida Statutes. . . The OCCTA invoked impasse under the Florida Statutes to secure a Memorandum of Understanding for the safe reopening of schools. This Recommended Decision is the result of two days of hearings, medical expert testimony, and lengthy post-hearing briefs to establish a fair and reasonable MOU for the parties. The Special Magistrate urges the SBOC and Union to adopt the Recommended Decision.”
The Special Magistrate also stated:
“The MOU must be clear and meaningful for the parties to understand the plain meaning of its terms. The Board's argument about excessive grievances are unsubstantiated. Upon this Special Magistrate's inquiry, the parties admitted just a few numbers of grievances are currently active. The bargaining unit has 14,000 members. The CT A, or its membership, is not abusing the grievance process. In contrast, the MOU must be clear and enforceable. Health and safety of teachers is a significant term and condition of employment. The Florida Statute §44 7 .405, commands the Board to bargain and negotiate significant terms and conditions of employment. The parties are under a "Duty to Bargain" which compels a "Duty of Good Faith". Restatement (Second) of Contracts, §205 (1981); Farnsworth, Contracts §7.17 (3d ed. 1999) The MOU, as recommended, is reasonable. External MOUs comparable from Dade, Hernando and Broward counties are relevant. External comparables are substantial evidence for the Board's adoption of this Recommended Decision. City of Cedar Falls. Iowa, 119 LA 1711 (Moellar, 2004) Here, the interest and welfare of the public is better served by adopting the CTA' s terms and conditions clause, as well as, the duration clause. City of Hugo, Oklahoma, 120 LA 540 (Crow, 2004)”
OCCTA will opt to adopt the Special Magistrates decision and hopes that the District will also. While not granting every provision, the Special Magistrate’s decision incorporates the majority of OCCTA’s proposal and would provide added protection for employees’ health and safety, and improved working conditions that have been conspicuously absent for the first semester of this school year. They include:
The parties mutually agree as follows:
- The COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual version 8.0 (effective September 12, 2020) is hereby adopted and incorporated to this MOU as if fully set forth herein. In the event of a conflict between this Memorandum of Understanding and the COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual, this Memorandum of Understanding shall prevail. The parties understand the COVID-19 Health and Safety Procedures Manual may be amended as needed for legitimate operational needs by the School Board. The OCCTA will be given prior notice for a meet and confer opportunity. The OCCTA will have ten (10) days for input prior to any amendment to the Health and Safety Procedures Manual through the contractual Joint Safety Committee, established in the CBA, Article II, M(6)(b)(2) (Enhanced the language that OCCTA proposed to members’ advantage by adding OCCTA will have 10 days for input through the Joint Safety Committee.)
HEALTH AND SAFETY
- The procedures in the MOU will apply to all OCPS facilities wherein bargaining unit employees work and shall be implemented in accordance with Center for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") guidelines, including any updates, unless otherwise mutually agreed by the parties in writing. The District will also consider the recommendations of local health officials and industry guidance and best practices as appropriate to Florida and Orange County, to the extent they do not conflict with the CDC. (Same exact language as what OCCTA proposed.)
- In accordance with CDC guidelines, the District shall limit nonessential school site and classroom visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as possible. The frequency of walkthroughs will be limited and no more than two persons will be allowed to conduct a walkthrough at any given time. Any school or classroom visitors or volunteers who are deemed essential, including for walkthroughs, must comply with all other safety protocols, including those established by this MOU. (Most of OCCTA’s language is the same, except OCCTA allows no more than one person for walk-through and the Special Magistrate changed that to two. OCCTA considers this acceptable since it at least prohibits the teams of District personnel from entering classrooms.)
- The District will update emergency plans and contact lists, and establish procedures for students and staff who have come to school with COVID-19 symptoms, or who have tested positive for COVID-19, including but not limited to the following (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed):
- Implementing training for teachers to identify, and procedures to· address, students who appear symptomatic, including clear guidelines for nurses. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Establishing procedures to separate symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive individuals from the school population. 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. Schools with medically fragile students should provide an additional room for students to receive services. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Ensuring symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive individuals are sent home as soon as possible and developing a parent or guardian communication and pick up plan. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- 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. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.) The OCPS "dashboard" "may be utilized for this purpose provided the OCPS immediately updates all incidents. The Special Magistrate added this last sentence. It is acceptable. OCCTA will hold the District to updating it in real time.)
- Following CDC guidelines on how to disinfect the portions and/or all of building as necessary if someone is symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive. (The same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Closing out areas used by the person who is symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Identification and contact tracing in accordance with CDC guidelines and in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Preparing for targeted school closures where necessary. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- If there has been a confirmed COVID-19 case at a school, the District shall [d]ismiss the room or building of students and most staff for an initial consultation with local health officials as recommended by the Florida Department of Education which recognized that this allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school. This also allows the local health officials to help the school determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed. Said procedures will be developed in accordance with CDC guidelines and in collaboration with local health officials and OCCTA. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Employees who are at increased and/or high risk for serious complications from COVID-19, as established by the CDC, or are caring for increased and/or high-risk household members may indicate a preference for a LaunchED@Home assignment to teach or conduct work-related duties at home to the extent student demand allows such instruction to be completed at home. If such an assignment is not available because of a lack of student demand the District will work to accommodate those employees at their school site to minimize exposure to the extent feasible. The employee shall return to their same worksite and position if available. (Some OCCTA language, some District language. OCCTA wanted teachers to have a “choice” rather than “preference”, but considers changes acceptable.)
- The District will grant members of the bargaining unit personal leave without pay up to one school year upon request. Members of the bargaining unit shall be permitted to find outside employment while on leave for this COVID -19 pandemic period during the school year 2020- 2021 only. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed. This is important. The District claimed teachers on leave could not work at other jobs while on leave.)
- Symptomatic and/or COVID-19 positive employees and students, and/or those who have had direct contact with someone with COVID-19 will be required to stay at home. Said Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have had direct contact with someone with COVID-19 will be placed on medical relief of duty if they cannot work remotely. The parties understand the current CDC recommendations and the SDOC's standards enunciated in the Health and Safety Procedures manual should be the same. As recommended by the CDC (Similar language to what OCCTA proposed.):
- If an employee or student has had COVID-19 symptoms they may not return to school until they have had 3 days with no fever, and their respiratory symptoms have improved and it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- If an employee or student has tested positive for COVID-19, they may not return to school until they have no fever, respiratory symptoms have improved, and they have received two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- If any employee or student has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and/or COVID-19 symptoms they must stay home for 14 days after exposure. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
Any employee who is asymptomatic but is required to stay home for the reasons outlined above may request a remote assignment as described in Paragraph 4 of this MOU. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- If an employee is sent home due to COVID-19 related illness, he/she will be placed on Medical Relief of Duty up to fourteen (14) calendar days. Employees may also be eligible for paid Emergency Sick Leave or Emergency FMLA under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA-HR 6201). Once employees have exhausted all available leave and/or federal benefits, he/she may use personal, sick, or unpaid leave, and then employees must use unpaid leave. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will follow Department of Education (DOE) guidelines for waivers related to making up lost instructional days and time related to COVID-19. Any change to the calendar and/or workday will be negotiated with the Union. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The District shall not ask or require any bargaining unit employees to sign any waiver agreement(s) requiring the employee to waive any rights, hold the District harmless, or to agree to free the District of any liability associated with contracting COVID-19 at work. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Any and all meetings including, but not limited to, faculty meetings, PLCs, team meetings, pre-planning meetings, IEP meetings, Meet the Teacher, and Open House will be held virtually where legal and possible. Provided, parents may request a face-to-face meeting if possible. Virtual meetings may be recorded. Any other administrator communication will be conducted via email. (Same language as OCCTA except he allows parents to request face-to-face meetings and the recording of meetings, which is also controlled by state law. No one can be audio-recorded without his/her permission in Florida. He removed: “A PLC/team meeting will not be conducted on the same week a faculty meeting has been or is scheduled to be held. However, the number of meetings is also in the contract. He also removed: “Non-classroom instructional staff will be able to complete job duties which do not entail student contact remotely to minimize possible COVID-19 exposure and spread, such as virtual meetings, report writing, and document preparation.”)
- The District will ensure adequate equipment and supplies are provided to support hygiene practices, use of Personal Protective Equipment, and sanitation. There must be proper and sufficient supply and equitable distribution of face coverings, gloves, disinfectant wipes and/or cleaner, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, soap, paper towels, tissues, physical barriers to the extent necessary when other Personal Protective Equipment cannot be used, handwashing and sanitizing stations, and sanitizing materials that will not damage sensitive equipment ( e.g. instruments and books). Teachers and schools will have access to said supplies and equipment as needed. Bargaining unit employees are not required to clean or sanitize classrooms; however, these supplies will be available for their use. (Same language as OCCTA, except the Special Magistrate removed, “In accordance with CDC guidelines, the District will “[I]install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart.”)
The District will ensure that bargaining unit employees whose job description requires increased interaction with students ( e.g. elective teachers, nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, employees who may be required to implement student restraints, and employees who work with younger students, ESE students, and students with physical conditions) are provided with supplies and equipment commensurate with their exposure level including face shield, physical/plexiglass barriers, masks, gloves, and additional supplies as needed. (Same language that OCCTA proposed, except the Special magistrate removed “biohazard bags for waste/fluids upon request”. OCCTA is in agreement since our witness Dr. Nielson testified that they were required only for blood.)
Teachers will be permitted to wear scrubs or casual clothing. Nurses and ESE teachers including those who work in self contained classrooms will be provided with protective gowns upon request. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
The District will provide face shields for Deans, Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors, and Staffing Specialists. Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, and Deans shall not be required to meet face-to-face in their office with more than one student if 6 feet physical distancing cannot be maintained. The District and local administration will coordinate other facilities for use. Otherwise, the District will provide plexiglass barriers in their offices in the event that a student meeting must be conducted. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Bargaining unit employees, including Social Workers, will not be required to conduct home visits, which could put their health and safety at risk, unless home visits have a legitimate operational need. Home visits will be made utilizing all protective measures. (The Special Magistrate added, “. . . unless home visits have a legitimate operational need. Home visits will be made utilizing all protective measures.”)
- Bargaining unit employees, including Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, Deans, Behavioral Specialist, and Staffing Specialist may conduct and participate in IEP meetings, 504 plans, and parent-teacher conferences virtually or by conference call, where feasible. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Pursuant to CDC guidelines, face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information should be provided to staff, students, and students' families on proper use, removal, and washing of face coverings. High-Risk teachers and those in situations where students are not wearing masks or 6 feet physical distancing cannot be achieved will be provided with KN95 masks. Complaints or inquiries will be processed pursuant to the Joint Safety Committee. Article II, Section M (6)(b)(2) (Same exact language in first paragraph. The Special Magistrate removed a sentence that was confusing and added the last sentence regarding the Joint Safety Committee.)
- Pursuant to CDC guidelines, the District will "develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection" and will "clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g. playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) within the school and on school buses at least daily or between use as much as possible. Use of shared objects (e.g. gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games) should be limited when possible, or cleaned between use." Any shared objects that were used shall be left in a designated bin to be sanitized daily. A checklist stating what was cleaned in each classroom will be attached to the classroom door daily. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers will be allowed to have air purifiers in their classrooms or offices. (Same language as OCCTA except the Special Magistrate removed fans. After our witness, Dr. Annette Nielsen testified that fans may not be good, OCCTA agreed with removing that language.)
- As recommended by the CDC, the District will "[p]rovide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and children remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times." The District will require each school to establish protocols to facilitate compliance with CDC guidelines of physical distancing while traveling through the building, including during transitions between classes. This may include, but is not limited to, signage and physical markings, additional time for class changes, increased monitoring and security, and limited and/or staggered transitions. Signage should be consistent and uniform across the District. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- All class sizes (including VPK, electives and special area classes) will comply with CDC and State guidelines and will be reduced in a manner that will facilitate physical distancing. Classrooms and workspaces must be reconfigured and space seating must be at least 6 feet apart, as possible, to comply with the same. (Same language that OCCTA proposed, except the Special Magistrate removed the two subsections: “a. The parties acknowledge that certain classes or activities may require additional physical distancing due to increased risk of spread (e.g., chorus, music, dance, band, physical education)” and “b. The teacher to student ratio in ESE self-contained classrooms will not exceed 1:6 for K-2, 1:9 for 3-5, and 1:10 for Middle School and High School, except where a lower ratio is required by the State.”)
- Left Intentionally blank (OCCTA withdrew the proposed language before impasse.)
- In order to avoid congregation of employees upon arrival and departure from the worksite, to check in and out, the District will provide an electronic check in/out sheet. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will encourage and communicate health and safety practices to parents, students, and employees. District-wide hygiene practices, social distancing, and other safety protocols will be taught to students and embedded in daily routines. Daily schedules, including class transitions, must include time for every student and employee to implement adequate hygiene practices and social distancing. The parties acknowledge some special-need students or teachers may need accommodation. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed, except the Special Magistrate added the last sentence, which enhances the proposed language.)
- Employees may, but will not be required to, enforce student adherence to hygiene practices, social distancing, and other safety protocols. Employees shall not be disciplined or held responsible when students refuse to follow instructions to practice safety protocols unless the employee is grossly negligent and takes no actions to correct the noncompliance. 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. (Same language OCCTA proposed except the Special Magistrate added, “. . . unless the employee is grossly negligent and takes no actions to correct the noncompliance.”)
- School administrators will promptly take action to correct any student non-compliance with health and safety protocols of which they have been made aware to protect the safety of all students and staff. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 associated medical costs for those employees who are not yet eligible for insurance coverage with the District. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will provide sufficient training for employees on proper safety protocols; how to use safety equipment and supplies safely and properly; how to de-escalate situations in which students refuse to follow protocols; and how to handle situations unique to COVID-19 such as reporting and dealing with suspected cases, privacy rights, identifying and addressing emotional stressors, student engagement, and attendance. All training will be completed by no later than the first day in which the employee is required to implement it. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The District shall provide meaningful training, guidance, and instructional materials. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- District professional development will be made available online to assist staff in completion of requirements for recertification. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Employees and students who are engaging in LaunchED@Home will follow the schedule provided by the school which shall include a duty-free lunch and planning time and will not exceed the duty day. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers engaging in LaunchED@Home will be available on screen for students throughout the entire duration of each class, but the parties acknowledge teachers may be subject to personal needs, other drills or situations beyond a teacher's control. (Same language as OCCTA for the first part, but the Special Magistrate changed the language from “but will not be required to be on screen for the entire duration of the class” to “but the parties acknowledge teachers may be subject to personal needs, other drills or situations beyond a teacher's control.” OCCTA does not object to the change.)
- Regular attendance and grading policies will be followed while engaging in LaunchED@Home. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will ensure that employees who are engaging in LaunchED@Home have access to the internet, computers with working microphone and video capabilities, digital materials, cloud or other storage, as well as instructional platforms to conduct their work. Any teacher in need of equipment to teach through the LaunchED platform will contact their administrator and it will be provided in a timely manner. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will provide employees with learning platforms to conduct LaunchED@Home. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Employees who are engaging in LaunchED@Home will be given the option of conducting it from a classroom. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Cameras for live streaming will be available for teachers. Cameras will not be installed in the classrooms, offices, or room, or areas used by bargaining unit employees for concerted activities. Teachers will have control over the activation and deactivation of cameras. Live streaming and cameras will only be permitted during the 2020-2021 School Year. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- If video cameras are used in classrooms to provide live or recorded instruction:
- Teachers must be trained on the proper usage of equipment. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will ensure the security of the data and how it is stored. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- The District will ensure student and personal privacy including, but not limited to, FERP A prior to the first day of the usage of such audio/visual devices. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers must be notified of which students in their classrooms have signed applicable consent forms and the District will ensure that policies and procedures for dealing with students whose parents have not provided consent are followed. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers are to be held harmless for any malfunction of said equipment provided the malfunction was not caused by gross negligence of the employee. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers are to be held harmless for any remote student behaviors that are streamed to the entire classroom. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- A sign indicating that the classroom has a video camera or recording equipment and which states that such cameras are being utilized for instruction must be placed in each classroom upon the installation of such devices. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers may record their own lessons at their discretion. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Teachers will inform their worksite Administrator if they are sick or absent and will put in leave in the Employee Self-Service (ESS) portal. (Special Magistrate removed the sentence that OCCTA concluded with: “Employees will not be required to report if they are sick or absent to Professional Standards.” OCCTA accepts the removal.)
- Video content will not be used by the District for any purpose or exhibited in any other context without the written permission of the teacher. In no circumstances will video recordings of teachers be made or used as part of any evaluation without the advance knowledge and written consent of the employee. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- When disciplinary action is being considered, recommended action will be based on totality of the evidence, rather than the video recording(s) in isolation. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Students that record a teacher without their knowledge or permission may be subject to discipline according to the District’s Code of Student Conduct. Students who record a teacher or whose parent records a teacher, without their knowledge or permission, will be removed from the teacher’s class for the duration of the school year upon the teacher’s request to the extent feasible. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- 41 Intentionally left blank. (OCCTA withdrew the proposed language before impasse.)
- Employees shall not be disciplined or held responsible for damage to District equipment related to LaunchED platform, unless the equipment is damaged due to the gross negligence and/or an intentional act of the employee; functionality of technology or if connectivity is interrupted or otherwise insufficient to facilitate LaunchED@Home; privacy issues; oversight or supervision of children at home; or improper use of technology by parents or student. While teaching under the LaunchED platform, the teacher will be responsible to report abuse, neglect, or abandonment under the requirements of Management Directive A-4. It is understood that employees who will be providing LaunchED@Home may have inadvertent lesson interruptions or distractions, such as background noise or conversations from others. Employees shall not be disciplined or held responsible in any way for actions of others that might be witnessed or heard by students. (Same language OCCTA proposed except the Special Magistrate added “. . . the gross negligence and/or. . .” in the first sentence. OCCTA is fine with the addition.)
- If a parent brings forth a charge or civil suit against a teacher over lessons, materials, discussion and/or matters that arise from LaunchED@Home, the District will provide an attorney who will represent the teacher to the extent the teacher was acting within the course and scope of his/her employment. (Same exact language as OCCTA proposed.)
- Preferably, Teachers will not be required to perform both on-campus face-to-face and LaunchED@Home simultaneously. The parties "'will negotiate a process to determine teacher assignment of on-campus face-to-face or LaunchED@Home that allows for teacher preference, and teachers who are at increased and/or high-risk for serious complications from COVID-19, as established by the CDC, or are caring for increased and/or high-risk household members will be considered first for LaunchED@Home positions at their worksite. The parties acknowledge the external circumstances and the changing preferences of parents must be considered. (The Special Magistrate changed the language from OCCTA’s original language which read: “A Teacher will not be required to perform both on-campus face-to-face and LaunchED@Home simultaneously. The parties will negotiate a process to determine teacher assignment of on-campus face-to-face or LaunchED@Home that allows for teacher choice; and teachers who are at increased and/or high-risk for serious complications from COVID-19, as established by the CDC, or are caring for increased and/or high-risk household members will be considered first for available LaunchED@Home positions at their worksite.” He added, “Preferably” in the first sentence; changed “choice” to “preference” in the second sentence; left the third sentence as OCCTA proposed, and added a final sentence: “The parties acknowledge the external circumstances and the changing preferences of parents must be considered.” This is the only proposed change OCCTA has issues with. Other Districts have provided teachers to volunteer for this unreasonable format and/or provide a stipend to those that have to teach face-to-face and virtual simultaneously.)
- Employees will be notified of their work times, schedule, and location, whether in the building or remote, with ample time to plan and carry out their responsibilities. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- The duty day, including time for planning, grading, and student instructions, shall not exceed contract hours. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- In the event a bargaining unit employee is required to stay home for the reasons outlined in Paragraph 7 of this MOU, and is unable to work remotely, no other bargaining unit employee will be asked or required to fulfill that employee's work responsibilities or assignments to the extent feasible. (The same language OCCTA proposed, except the Special Magistrate added “to the extent feasible.” Since our contract specifies that OCPS must provide an adequate substitute pool and we have a settlement agreement regarding splitting classes, this would be acceptable.)
- Intentionally left blank. (OCCTA withdrew this proposed language before impasse.)
- Intentionally left blank (OCCTA withdrew this proposed language before impasse.)
- In accordance with Article VII, Section A of the CBA, teachers will have the freedom to implement the adopted curriculum. The parties agree to adhere to the lesson plan settlement. For those teachers working from home, lesson plans shall be submitted electronically within three (3) duty days of the request as stated in the lesson plan settlement. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Bargaining unit employees will not be required to perform duties or responsibilities outside of their job description or historically assigned duties. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Classroom teachers will not be required to supervise students between periods. The time will be used to prepare for the next group of students. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Intentionally left blank. (OCCTA withdrew this proposed language before impasse.)
- Intentionally left blank. (OCCTA withdrew this proposed language before impasse.)
- Intentionally left blank. (OCCTA withdrew this proposed language before impasse.)
- If the State prohibits District evaluations to be submitted as outlined in Paragraph 3 of this section, then the parties will meet prior to the first day of pre-planning, or as soon thereafter as the prohibition becomes known, to agree on training and temporary modifications to the evaluation system suitable for the 2020-2021 School Year. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Supply lists, developed in collaboration with teachers, will be sent to parents so students have the necessary materials to engage in electives from homes. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
- Student performances, concerts, rehearsals, and art shows will continue in a manner that complies with CDC guidelines on physical distancing ( e.g. staggered performances, reducing cast size, distanced seating, virtual streaming) and the District will make available the appropriate platforms to share performances with high quality audio and video. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
Terms and Conditions:
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; Center for Disease Control and Prevention updates; recommendations from local health authorities; changes in the law; changes of the course or severity of the Pandemic; and the evolving needs of parents, students, and employees. Subsequent agreements and understandings germane to the reopening of schools will be incorporated herein, and the OCCTA will utilize the Joint Safety Committee to recommend or establish best practices and mechanisms to monitor and enforce safety protocols or to revisit the subjects addressed herein. (Same language that OCCTA proposed except the Special Magistrate added: “ . . . and the OCCTA will utilize the Joint Safety Committee to recommend or establish best practices and mechanisms to monitor and enforce safety protocols or to revisit the subjects addressed herein.” This enhances the MOU.)
This Agreement sets forth an entire agreement between the parties hereto and shall supersede any and all prior agreements or understandings between the parties; except that all other provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement remain in full effect and in the event of a conflict between this Memorandum of Understanding and the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Collective Bargaining Agreement shall prevail unless mutually agreed by the parties in writing. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, and each counterpart will have the effect of an original. Electronic and facsimile copies will be considered originals for all purposes, including enforcement. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
This Agreement may not be amended except by a written agreement signed by the parties. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)
This Memorandum shall commence effective from the date of Board approval and shall sunset on June 30, 2021, unless otherwise mutually agreed to by the parties in writing. (Same exact language that OCCTA proposed.)