Today, the OEA Board of Directors acted unanimously to adopt a position statement on safe and equitable reopening plans for schools and campus buildings for the 2020-2021 academic year. (Click here to view) Bottom line: Ohio’s schools and campuses should only reopen for in-person instruction when conditions are met that ensure the safety of students, educators, education support professionals, their families and communities. We are calling on strict adherence across the state to public health standards based on CDC guidelines, including six-foot physical distancing and masks or face coverings for all staff, students and visitors. Counties designated by the state as Level 4 (purple) or Level 3 (red) must open only for remote learning.
The Board took this position after considering feedback of members across the state. In a poll just completed last week, 69% of our members told us they don’t think it will be safe to reopen schools. As your union leaders and fellow members continue advocating at the local level, we are taking this step to support those organizing efforts to protect your health and safety and that of your students and loved ones. Know that at all levels of our union, we have your back.
Our advocacy is strengthened by the incredible work each of you lead in your own locals every day. We are also strengthened by our affiliation with a powerful national union, the NEA, which continues to offer invaluable support and guidance. I encourage you to participate in tonight’s virtual town hall: “All Hands on Deck: Reopening Schools Safely and Equitably.” Click here to join.
The next board of education meeting is July 21at 6:30. It will be an in-person meeting, however it will be live streamed as well. REA strongly encourages you to watch or attend. The board agenda is released on Friday and can be accessed here https://www.reyn.org/Members.aspx . Look through and read the policies and plan to attend/watch the board meeting.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, OEA President Scott DiMauro presented opponent testimony on Senate Bill 320 (Matt Huffman-Lima) to the Senate Education Committee. The bill would leave decisions on reopening schools for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year in the hands of local school district boards of education and would prohibit state officials from preventing reopening, ordering closings, or requiring school districts to adopt health safety measures and guidelines for addressing COVID-19.
In his testimony, President DiMauro stated, “OEA’s top priority remains the health and safety of our students, members, and the communities we serve. OEA believes that any decision on re-opening schools next year must be driven by guidance from public health officials. While OEA supports local control, we also support the authority of the Governor and public health officials to make decisions that are data-driven and scientifically-based to keep our students and educators safe.”
Click here to read the entire SB 320 testimony.
All candidates, regardless of party, running for office in the fall are invited to be screened by representatives of OEA.
Would you like to help screen?
There will be several opportunities to serve on screenings this summer and fall.
The first virtual meeting will be on July 13.
Contact REA for more details.