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Article Coronavirus AFT

AFT guidelines call for safe reopening of schools and communities
National union defines five key tenets for reopening

The AFT on April 30 released a detailed road map that, in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, charts a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.

The 20-page, science-based “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” sprung from an intense collaboration of public health professionals, union leaders and frontline workers to prepare for what happens next in the period between flattening the curve and truly eradicating the virus.

Allan Hancock College teachers and the ‘new normal’
Union presidents surveys part-time faculty for newspaper column

By Mark James Miller, Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College

“I miss the face-to-face contact.”

“Something is missing.”

“I miss being with my students.”

As Hancock College’s part-time instructors adapt to the “new normal” brought on by the coronavirus, one theme is constant: With all classes now being taught remotely, they miss being in the classroom with their students.

Adjunct faculty leaders organize, meet challenges of pandemic
The union picture — now and in the months ahead

The ongoing COVID-19 experience for part-time instructors has demonstrated their great collective strength and resiliency, despite limited pay, benefits, job security, and often minimal support.

Several local union leaders — who are part-time faculty — report that beyond the initially hectic and at times frenzied process of transitioning to remote instruction and services, faculty have more or less still been able to teach a semblance of their face-to-face course.

Article Part-time faculty Coronavirus

Relief for part-timers and their families during pandemic
Unemployment Insurance, housing, utilities, student loans

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, part-time faculty — beyond dealing with protecting the health and safety of themselves and their families — are facing threats to their economic security, including loss of income, access to health insurance, and their capacity to pay for housing and utilities.

It is essential part-timer faculty are aware of recent actions taken by the federal government and state of California to provide relief for people facing these challenges.

Article Part-time faculty AFT

“An Army of Temps” — AFT’s call to action
New AFT report attaches numbers to the human crisis in higher education

Part of the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic is that for those who were already at risk, it has laid their situation bare. This is a part-timer reality.

“While it may seem like an odd time to be putting out the “Army of Temps: AFT Contingent Faculty Quality of Worklife Survey,” frankly, it’s about as good a time as ever to show the fragility of this workforce.”

Article Coronavirus

Custodians on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic
Keeping campuses clean, supporting food service workers

On Friday, March 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to help slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus by keeping a “social distance” of six feet from each other.

School districts that were still operating suspended classes and college campuses emptied, but Newsom’s order continued full funding for public education and “essential” workers were told to report for work Monday.

Article Coronavirus

Food service workers whip up millions of Grab & Go meals
Classified employees essential to feeding kids during pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has forced school districts of all sizes to come to grips with the food insecurity their students face.

“In my entire life, I have never seen a medical crisis taken as seriously as this one,” said Carl Williams, head of the Lawndale Classified Employees Federation. “We’re now implementing options we have never discussed before, like shutting down classrooms and teaching online.”

Article Coronavirus

Health clerk looks back on early signs of pandemic
Veteran clerk teaches and practices good habits

For months, health clerk Cathy Pierce said, she and other school district staff heard about the coronavirus “like everyone else — bits of news and gossip.”

Pierce began to receive more credible information about COVID-19 and changes coming at all levels of government and education the week before Lawndale’s Mitchell Elementary shut in March. She has since come up the coronavirus learning curve, and now sees her work in a different light.

More members join Classified Summer Assistance Program
AFT locals work successfully with districts to implement program

Tens of thousands of classified staff in K-12 school districts across California have signed up for the third year of an innovative state program to support some of the lowest paid employees on campus.

The Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program (CSESAP) allows eligible staff to withhold up to 10 percent of their monthly salary during the school year, and receive that money — matched by the state up to a dollar for a dollar — in one or two payments the following summer.

Article Part-Time Employment

CFT advances bill for classified staff to close part-time loophole
Legislature's emergency recess delays action

Update: Due to the pandemic and the Legislature’s rearranging of priorities, most union-sponsored bills were not taken up. 

State legislators left Sacramento March 20 after passing emergency legislation to help K-12 schools, individuals, small businesses and non-profits weather the coronavirus pandemic. Significant for classified employees, the legislation — Senate Bill 117 — includes $100 million dollars to purchase personal protective equipment, to pay for supplies and labor related to cleaning schools sites, or both.