COVID-19: WEAC Recommendations

The safety of Wisconsin’s students and educators is our top priority as a union. Educators are charged with developing the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being of the students we serve every day, even during a national health crisis. WEAC has developed recommendations addressing key areas of concern and solutions so that, when this crisis passes, students and educators can return to school without intended negative consequences stemming from school closings and loss of learning time.

WEAC Recommendations

Close all Schools Immediately. Keeping some schools open while many are closed communicates a mix message to residents and jeopardizes the containment of the virus.

Keep the Union at the Table. WEAC is a key partner to the Department of Public Instruction and the Officer of the Governor on educational issues. We bring solutions to the table. WEAC leadership should be involved in deliberations and decision making as it relates to Wisconsin’s Public Schools, particularly in this time of crisis.

Statewide Waiver of Instructional Hours. Keeping students and staff healthy and safe in a pandemic is ought to be a State priority. e-learning plans some districts may attempt to implement vary in quality and have the potential to create access issues for all students, particularly those affected by poverty.

Pause the Educator Effectiveness System. Educator Effectiveness is highly dependent on student attendance. In the event of extended school closures, teachers will be unable to collect data related to their SLO through regular formative assessment methods designed in the fall of 2019. All 2019-20 SLO data will be invalid due to an interruption of instruction.

ESSA. Adjust or extend the testing window to accommodate as many students as possible. Work with the US Department of Education to implement a one-year waiver of the requirement to identify a school for comprehensive or targeted support and improvement.

Extensions for IEPs. The Department of Instruction should work with the US Department of Education to extend all Individual Education Plan expiration dates for students with special needs. The extension deadline should be no less than twice the amount of time schools are closed establishing time for students to readjust.

Economic Justice for Students and Families. Free testing for all students and families; assure paid time off for parents and caregivers; create a food delivery system for students isolated or quarantined who currently qualify for free or reduced lunch; provide a safe space for homeless youth.

Paid Time off for all Employees. Public school employees are at the line of defense putting their own health at risk working to ensure the success of their students. All levers should be considered including extending unemployment compensation to public employees and tapping into district fund balances.

Implement Enhanced Cleaning of Schools. In consultation with school custodial staff, CDC recommendations for enhanced cleaning and disinfection should be executed in every public-school house in Wisconsin.

Nurses in Schools. Implement the recommendation of The American Academy of Pediatrics. There should be a full-time nurse in every Wisconsin Public School.

Adapt Requirements for Preservice Educators. Create a reasonable pathway for teacher candidates to complete their student teaching requirement in a way that would allow them to graduate on time, apply for and accept teaching positions in the fall. Work with higher ed programs for an extension and/or waiver of edTPA requirements.