Arizona Education Association

Winter 2021

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AROUND AEA 6 ADVOCATE | WINTER 2021 If we as Arizonans really believe, as AEA does, that our schools, colleges, and universities must be the safest places in the community for every student, educator, and family, we must take strong, clear steps to make it so. And that is why AEA is calling for Safe Arizona Schools Now, a plan of eight district level expectations to ensure safe in-person learning for Arizona students and school staff. 1. Science-based mitigation plans and safety protocols, including; • Universal masking indoors, COVID testing available for all, and a commitment to follow the CDC guidelines; and • Reducing class sizes to support social distancing and increase one-on-one time with students. 2. Inclusion of employee groups in creating, revising, and implementing site and district plans. • Priority to keep our schools safe for in-person instruction. 3. Public transparency of all federal relief dollars. • Open meeting to present information on what the district receives and how it is being spent. 4. Solidified and transparent plans for the impacts COVID illness and the quarantine of staff and students. • Ensuring academic opportunity for all students. • Impact of absences for both educators and students. • Funding for synchronous, virtual learning that will provide full funding for schools who offer this for the long term. • Public district and site COVID dashboards, updated daily • Plans for coverage of classes with ill educators. • Respect for agreed upon job description and job duties expectations. • Remote work capacity for vulnerable staff. 5. Paid sick leave for staff for COVID-related absences. • COVID and COVID-related illness absences should not impact a staff member's current or future leave bank. • Accommodations for educators and students with "long- haul" COVID health issues. 6. Nurses and/or health aides at every site, every day with transparent COVID protocols. • Staff, parents, and students should have a clear understanding of when and for how long students and staff may be quarantined. • Expectations of health clearance before returning to work/school. • Coverage protocols. 7. Focus on recruitment and retention of hard-to-fill positions. • Plans and goals for filling hard-to-fill positions. • Salary structures, benefits, signing bonuses, longevity pay. • Creation of retention and loyalty programs for all employees. • Retention stipends and loyalty pay for all employees for putting themselves and their families at risk during the pandemic. 8. Evaluation of school facilities with student and staff health as the cornerstone. • Upgrade all ventilation systems to CDC Guidelines. • ARPA investment for audit of current ventilation systems and needs for upgrade. • Creative student-centered class scheduling. • Limit movement of students within buildings • Increase opportunities for students to be outside when possible. • Social emotional learning for staff and students with actionable authentic steps to supporting impacts of COVID trauma. Calls for Safe Arizona Schools NOW

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