CEA is seeking 40 CEA members to participate in the 2021cohort of the Teacher Leadership Institute. Those who are selected and complete the entire experience will receive a $500 completion honorarium and earn 18 CEUs for their work. Submit your application at http://bit.ly/CEATLi21. Applicants will be notified of selection by the end of February. For more information, contact Dorothy Wilson at (614) 253-4731.
For Immediate Release
Columbus, OH – The Columbus Education Association, the Union representing more than 4,000 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools, announced today that it has achieved a major victory for the rights of educators in Columbus City Schools when District leadership agreed that certain bargaining unit members at high medical risk who had been improperly denied leave would not be required to report for in-person instruction on Monday against the advice of medical professionals.
Affected by the settlement are roughly 200 bargaining unit members who were denied leave guaranteed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) by Columbus City Schools after being advised by a medical professional to quarantine due to being at a high risk for contracting COVID-19, as well as a separate smaller group of members who received Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations for remote work which were recently unilaterally rescinded.
“We have said time and time again that our priority during this pandemic was the health and safety of our entire school community,” said John Coneglio, CEA President. “There is no clearer example of this than our fight to uphold the federally-guaranteed rights of our most vulnerable members. I am pleased that thanks to our Union’s enforcement, these CEA members will not have to choose between their health and their career.”
Following CEA’s pursuit of both cases, the district acknowledged that it applied a set of criteria to the approval process for FFCRA applications that excluded those CEA Bargaining Unit members who had been advised to quarantine by a medical professional, in direct contradiction to FFCRA requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations. An extension of FFCRA benefits was bargained by CEA and the District through March 23, 2021. Separately, the District acknowledged that it was responsible for continuing to engage in the ADA process for those members whose accommodations were unilaterally rescinded. Pursuant to communication from the CCS General Counsel, CEA bargaining unit members in both groups will be eligible to use accrued leave until such time as a determination has been made about their FFCRA eligibility and will be refunded for that leave subject to FFCRA approval.
CEA continues to advocate for all CCS employees to have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible to ensure and expedite a safe return to in-person learning.
The Columbus Education Association is the Union representing more than 4,000 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools. The Columbus Education Association is a proud affiliate of the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2021
COLUMBUS OH — Governor DeWine announced this week that 96% of public school districts have signed a form committing to a return to in-person learning by March 1st, even though the timeline for vaccine distribution means that no educators and staff will be fully vaccinated by that date. The Governor didn’t mention that this commitment form was presented as a prerequisite for educators and school staff to receive vaccines during Phase 1B.
The following joint statement is signed by: Patricia Shipe, President of Akron Education Association (Independent union); Paul Palomba, President of Canton Professional Educators’ Association (OEA); Julie Sellers, President of Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (OFT); Shari Obrenski, President of Cleveland Teachers Union (OFT); John Coneglio, President of Columbus Education Association (OEA); David Romick, President of Dayton Education Association (OEA); Kevin Dalton, President of Toledo Federation of Teachers (OFT); and Larry Ellis, President of Youngstown Education Association (OEA).
“Our school districts include some of the communities in Ohio that have been hit hardest by the deadly effects of COVID-19. Our members, our students and their families, and our cities will face dire consequences if schools are pressured to reopen before it is safe to do so.
We are disappointed that Governor DeWine has decided to use the distribution of a life-saving vaccine as a bargaining chip, holding this precious commodity hostage while pitting parents, administrators, teachers, other school workers, and students against each other. While we expect there will be no consequences for schools that fail to meet this commitment, that doesn’t mean the Governor isn’t harming communities with this action. Parents across the state now have unrealistic expectations for a March 1 reopening that simply will not be possible in many school districts. In some districts, these expectations are already pushing superintendents to announce and plan for reopening before it is safe.
No one wants a safe reopening of schools more than the educators and staff who have dedicated their careers to public education. We miss our students and we know that remote education can never fully replace the experience of in-person learning. However, we should not rush to reopen before it is safe, especially when adding mere weeks beyond March 1 could allow for full vaccinations of school employees. Luckily, schools don’t open up just because a Superintendent signs a letter; schools open up when teachers, staff, and parents collectively decide it is safe to do so.
Governor DeWine should make good on his pledge to prioritize pre-K to 12 school employees, and he should do so without any coerced preconditions. School districts should plan for safe reopenings based on objective public health criteria, which would include, but not be limited to, vaccine availability for educators and staff.
Most importantly, Governor DeWine needs to stop playing games with the health and lives of our school communities.”
Contact | Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo — Neil Bhaerman, Ohio Federation of Teachers Communications Director, 412-266-4899, email@example.com. Canton, Columbus, Dayton, Youngstown — Katie Olmsted, Ohio Education Association Media Relations Consultant, 614-560-6299, firstname.lastname@example.org. Akron — Patricia Shipe, President of Akron Education Association, 330-434-2181, email@example.com.