JANUARY 2021 UPDATE
Happy New Year everyone!
I would like to share some of the things that are happening to keep our association running smoothly and to make sure the safety and rights of our members are upheld.
Committees and Meetings:
The AHPA Executive Board and the Cluster Representative Committee have each met several times. They recently passed the AHPA budget for 2021. Several smaller committees were formed out of these groups. One of these dealt with, and resolved, issues that were occurring within emergency childcare. Several members also sit on the Communication Task Force recently formed by David Law. The group also put together a list of addresses/phone numbers for those of you that would like to reach out with questions or concerns.
The cluster representatives have been reaching out to both new paraeducators and non-members to invite them to join our association and/or answer any questions about AHPA. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused the paraeducator orientation and training that was created last year to be delayed. Previously, it was mandatory for all newly hired paras to participate in a large group setting to receive this orientation and training before being able to start their position. This was also a time where our AHPA President would introduce our association, answer questions and offer an opportunity for new paras to become a member and enjoy the benefits of AHPA membership. This has not been possible this year, but the district has been working on a different format to get the same information (and more) to new hires. Paras hired this school year should receive information from Employee Services within the next few weeks letting you know what this process will be. In the meantime, you can reach out to your cluster reps or AHPA officers to have questions answered. If you don’t know who they are, check out our website at ahparas.com. This website will also provide a link to join the Anoka Hennepin Paraeducator Association.
You can check out the AHPA Calendar on our website to see some of the other ways that AHPA is representing you.
Vaccinations and testing:
Testing at elementary schools plus Sorteberg, Riverview, Bridges, Compass, TPP, River Trail Learning Center at L.O. Jacob and River Trail Learning Center at Verndale will be offered beginning on Monday, Jan. 25. Employees can get a saliva testing kit and instructions to complete the test in the health office at their school/site.
You can find more information in Update 28 .
All Health paras who want the vaccine have already received it or are scheduled to be vaccinated.
There is a new pilot program where each district receives an allocation of vaccines for identified employees. Anoka Hennepin has been allocated 80 vaccine doses and they have been offered to the staff at RTLC@Verndale and Bridges.
You can find more information on this by doing a search for:
COVID-19 Vaccines for School and Child Care Staff: Prioritization Considerations.
**I was unable to attach the link
While it was originally shared that staff would start receiving vaccinations mid-January, that is no longer the case. All employees will receive a vaccination update from the district this Friday.
Return to school:
There will an update from the district on Friday regarding the Return to school plan: elementary 3-5, middle school and high school, regional and technical
- Face coverings are mandatory and will be provided by the district.
- Face shields are optional and will be provided by the district.
- Free standing barriers (36” x 24”) have been ordered and are optional. One will be supplied to each classroom. These are to be used by teachers/paras/specialists when you are working with a student(s) and can’t maintain 3 feet of social distancing.
- Ionization systems have all been installed. Ionization video **I suggest you watch!
- I have heard concerns from paras who feel they don’t have a safe place to eat lunch and maintain social distancing. Be proactive and reach out to find a safe location, perhaps an empty classroom where the students are at lunch. If you have trouble finding a location, reach out to your lead/principal/supervisor and ask them to help you find a location where you are able to social distance while you eat.
All elementary paras and bus paras that had been previously furloughed have now been recalled.
The U.S. Department of Labor previously put into effect – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act). It expired on December 31, 2020.
For more information on FFCRA
The district has decided to extend the same types of benefits to paraeducators and several other bargaining units. We have entered into an MOU with the district and the benefits are in effect as of January 1, 2021. Here is a draft copy of the MOU that I signed with the district. MOU