Washington Schools & Coronavirus: What You Should Know

Your health and well-being, and that of your families, students and our communities remains our top priority. Gov. Jay Inslee closed our schools in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the impacts of this pandemic to people, our health care system and economy.

That is why WEA and your local are fighting for three things:

  • Your health and safety, that of your families, students and community
  • Your ability to remain economically whole as a contributing member of our local and state economy
  • Flexibility — in work assignments, work locations, and adjusting to new conditions. School may be closed, but there is still work to be done. It might look different. What you do and where you do it may change.  For anyone required to work onsite, your district must follow all the recommended safeguards and protections for individuals. Districts cannot unilaterally require that employees work onsite without working with the local union to ensure that recommended safeguards and protections are in place.

If you have questions about what is happening in your district, please contact your local president or UniServ staff. Because all of our contracts are bargained locally, any changes to working conditions must be agreed upon at the local level. Your local leaders will be best positioned with the current information.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates as they become available. Check back frequently for the latest information.   

FAQs from WEA Members

Answers to your questions on the impacts COVID-19 will have on you, your profession and your school.

Larry Delaney_Message



 

Watch WEA President Larry Delaney's March 16 message to members.

Q. Schools are supposed to provide educational services by Monday, March 30. How is this equitable?

A. We have to remember that even though we have been working hard to improve equitable access to public education for all students, we weren't there before the pandemic hit. We must continue to make good faith efforts to reach every student, including those with disabilities, students of color and English Language Learners, while we navigate through these school closures. We must also keep in mind that it is not up to individual educators to solve this -- districts should be working with our locals to provide systemic solutions to meet the needs of all students in the best way we can with these unprecedented circumstances. OSPI has said that continuous learning should be based on common sense, compassion and communication, not compliance. We expect to hear more from the state.

More Questions & Answers

Latest News

SEBB and COBRA mailing: Members are receiving a mailing from the Health Care Authority concerning their rights to COBRA coverage. Please know that this mailing is informational only and required by law as part of the transition to SEBB. This does not mean that anyone is losing SEBB coverage. WEA was able to ensure that those who were covered on Feb. 29 will continue to have SEBB employer benefits through the shutdowns.


Lunas_MessageA kindergartner sends heart-warming appreciation to the educators she's missing. Watch video.


InsleeMar23AddressOn March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee issues "Stay-at-Home" order. Watch the governor's address to the state.


On March 18, Gov. Jay Inslee orders temporary stop to evictions, other help in response to coronavirus. Watch video.

Member Stories

What is happening in your areas of the state? Send us pictures and anecdotes, so we can share your hard work and dedication to Washington students and their families through these difficult times. Follow us on instagram, @wa_education, on twitter @washingtonea, and on Facebook @WashingtonEducation to see more stories like these.

Stanwood-Camino (2)Last Monday, before the stay at home order from Gov. Jay Inslee, Stanwood-Camano EA member, and Cedarhome Elementary first grade teacher Jane Lenz, said she saw a picture on Facebook of a “car parade” educators pulled off in Texas. After a couple of other staff members at Cedarcrest thought it would be great to replicate the parade, PE teacher Trent Campbell created a route map. The map was emailed to all staff at the school and car signs were made. No carpooling, of course. Teachers sent an email to their own classes to share the parade route with parents. Thirty-three cars with teachers and support staff drove by waving to students and families so they could connect and be a visible presence for the students. “We wanted to reassure them that we are thinking of them every day and that we will see them again,” Lenz says. “One of the most wonderful parts, in my mind, was to see our own staff smiling, laughing, shedding a few tears. We all needed the pick-me-up, and we will do it again in some weeks.” Go to @wa_education to see the video. 


1006779923-Teacher-Tricycle_01 (2)Vancouver EA member "Jennifer Patton, an elementary school art teacher who works with disabled students, has been donning homemade costumes every afternoon since schools closed a week ago due to concerns about the coronavirus. From there, she clambers onto her bicycle or tricycle and heads out for a ride around the block in her Edgewood Park neighborhood. She’s got a garage full of costumes, she said, dating back to the years she spent as a kindergarten teacher who dressed in costume almost daily. In the last week she’s been an octopus, Glenda the Good Witch and Evel Knievel. On Monday before the order came, she was joined by a few costumed-riders at a safe distance behind her. In Tuesday’s rain, she donned a yellow jacket a la the character Coraline from the movie and Neil Gaiman book by the same name. 'This is what I can do,” she said. “It’s something simple.'” Read the full story. 

Read more member stories here.

Certification Issues

Update: Paraeducator Fundamental Course of Study

The Professional Educator Standards Board has released new guidance for the state’s Paraeducator Certificate program, given this year's school closures. All school districts now have until the end of next school year to provide all four days of training on the Fundamental Course of Study. 

Districts that chose to offer the complete FCS training this year will be reimbursed for the additional training days at a rate of $218 per completed day of training per paraeducator.

The Professional Educator Standards Board will hold  a webinar at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, to share updates and answer questions about the paraeducator certificate program. Register here. For those unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and posted to on the PESB YouTube page.

Please note that in-person training requirements are not being waived. Seven of the 28 hours of FCS training must be conducted in person, but the deadline is not until the end of the 2020-21 school year. The remaining 21 hours of FCS training can, if the district chooses, be completed online.

Learn more.

Teacher certificate expiration date extended for one year

The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has extended the validity period on educator certificates expiring June 30, 2020 for one additional year. Read more.

Flexibility in educator prep programs

College and university teacher preparation programs are being granted flexibility in regards to how students can complete their coursework and program requirements. Read more.


 

Wellness & Self Care

Working from home can be stressful, especially in uncertain times like these. You are focused on still teaching students from a distance, keeping yourself and others close to you safe, and for some, this time can be isolating. Here are some ways to stay connected and healthy. Read more.

  • Have you had your daily serving of wellness? Read more.
  • Resources for parents and guardians. 

Resources and General Links for WEA Members and Families

WEA leadership and staff are working tirelessly to advocate for both educators and students during this time of uncertainty. That includes being in regular communication with the Governor’s office, the state Schools Superintendent’s Office and other state agencies to both receive new information from state leaders that we can share with you, and pushing those leaders for clearer guidance aimed at protecting students and educators.

Your Association is working to push districts to make every educator fully whole during the school closures. We will continue to work at the district-level to try and secure agreements for all public education employees to receive pay during the shutdown, and we will also continue to urge the Governor’s office to issue statewide guidance instructing districts to do so.

This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. Please send questions to WEA@washingtonea.org.

Additional information