OAPSE at the Table For School Reopenings

In the weeks since the governor and the Ohio Department of Education released the Education Reset/Restart Plan, it has become clear that individual school districts are on their own to figure out what to do in the fall.

Other than mandating that staff and some students wear masks, the governor and ODE left it up to each of Ohio’s 604 school districts to develop a plan to reopen schools in whatever form works in each community.

Some districts are using the governor’s color-coded map to guide them. Others are using different criteria and data. Still others are going full steam ahead and planning for a full reopen – at least that is their plan now

Because leadership on reopening is coming at the local level, it is critical that OAPSE local unions are involved in the ongoing discussions and planning for getting students and staff safely back in our classrooms.

Across the state, OAPSE regional directors and field representatives are involved in discussions between our locals and their employers. Our priorities remain the safety of our members and the students they serve and the job security of the 34,000 workers we represent. If your local union has not yet engaged OAPSE professional staff in those discussions, please encourage your officers to do so. Work schedules, safety equipment and supplies and job duties are all topics which should be addressed before reopening.

The first congressional coronavirus aid bill – the CARES Act – provided money to states for schools to use directly on coronavirus issues. Some of that money has started to flow to local school districts, who are using it for improved ventilation, PPE, sanitation and deep cleaning and improved access to the internet for remote learning.

But it is nowhere near enough to make up for what schools and local governments lost because of the coronavirus.

The HEROES Act – passed by the U.S. House of Representatives TWO MONTHS AGO – includes money for front-line workers and the unemployed, states, local governments and schools. The U.S. Senate is now debating an aid package which must include that funding if schools are to function for the kids we serve. It is critical that we weigh in and ask Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman to support the HEROES Act.

You can reach Sen. Sherrod Brown at 888-896-6446

You can reach Sen. Rob Portman at 800-205-6446

You can send a letter by clicking here.

Ask your U.S. Senators to pass the HEREOS Act so we can get the funding we need to go back to school safely.