There has been growing pressure lately to reopen schools and have our members resume their work in person. We want to ensure any return to work occurs only under conditions that protect workers, students, and the health of the community.
To meet these objectives, the Lane County Labor Chapter Education Caucus (representing educational workers in K-12, community college, and university settings) has developed a set of ten principles for the safe re-opening of educational institutions in our area.
LCCEF endorses these principles and urges our members to pledge their support and sign the associated petition (please share with friends and family as well). They reflect our shared commitment to ensuring safe working and learning conditions for all!
10 Principles for Safe Re-Opening
- Both K-12 and Higher Education institutions must use science and public health based criteria and metrics in making decisions to reopen, with a declining number of new COVID-19 cases for at least 21 days as a basic standard. Standards for re-opening should be based on conditions present in state-wide and local communities.
- Institutions must communicate clearly about conditions under which schools might have to close after re-opening and develop concrete plans for this contingency based on public health based criteria.
- Institutions should involve all affected stakeholders (unions, parents, community-based organizations) in planning processes for re-opening and pay special attention to the voices of those who directly serve students.
- Institutions must take necessary safety precautions for all educational workers, including provision of personal protective equipment, screening, maintaining social distancing protocols, sanitizing materials, and handwashing stations. Institutions must also provide training and support for safety practices for students and staff.
- Institutions must demonstrate capacity to test, trace, and isolate new cases.
- Institutions must have protections in place for students and staff at risk due to age or CDC identified categories. Institutions must ensure that educational workers who are considered to be at high risk of infection, or who live with or care for an individual who is at high risk, be allowed to work remotely.
- Institutions must apply an equity lens and pay special attention to the needs of students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ students, and students who are unhoused, or undocumented. Institutions need to make important materials available in multiple languages for families and students.
- Institutions must make distance learning as effective and equitable as possible by taking steps to expand broadband access and providing students with relevant technology.
- Institutions must provide effective access to services that are needed to support the educational experience of students, including food, counseling, mental health, and mentoring.
- Educational workers demand that state and federal governments provide additional investments in education at all levels so that both distance learning and safe reopenings are adequately funded and the health of workers and students is protected.