PRESS RELEASE March 29, 2021

Teachers are happy being back in their classrooms with their students, continuing to provide a quality education through an educational model collaboratively developed by the Natomas Teachers Association/CTA/NEA (NTA) and the Natomas Unified School District with input from District teachers, and agreed upon by the parties.  This current model, implemented just over a month ago after collective bargaining, provides for distance learning and concurrent in-person instruction with smaller class sizes of consistent groups of students, known as “cohorts.” The current model provides greater safety protections for all students and staff and students benefit from the smaller class sizes in their cohort groups. NTA and the dedicated educators it represents are gravely dismayed that the District has unilaterally scrapped this collaboratively-developed model.

The District’s March 21, 2021, announcement to adopt a new model without any input from, or negotiations with NTA,  ignores the negotiated educational benefits and safety precautions for students and staff.  The District seems to want to give the impression that teachers were part of that decision-making process. In fact, NTA received notice just 12 minutes before the District made its public announcement.  Teachers are dismayed by the District’s actions and its disregard for the input of teachers, as they are the experts in education. NTA has worked collaboratively with the District throughout the pandemic and bargained agreements in good faith that NTA expected the District to uphold.  Instead, the District plans to ignore our agreements, ignore the benefits to students and staff of the current model, and plans to implement a new five-day-a-week model that teachers have not given any input to and is not consistent with our current agreements

Feb 14th – Addendum to the Oct 31st Transitional Learning MOU, to prepare for March reopening

Here is the addendum to the MOU that we just reached agreement on, outlining the steps to reopening in March 2021:

And here is the original MOU on Transitional schedules for reopening:

NTA Negotiates New Timeline
February 14, 2021
Member Communication
Hello NTA members,
NTA Negotiates Addendum to MOU
When the District took unilateral action earlier this week regarding the start of school, many of us became concerned with the rushed timeline and the numerous safety concerns that it created. Fortunately, earlier today, NTA leaders were able to successfully negotiate an addendum to our MOU that creates for a better, safer, and more responsible return for in person learning.

There is no question that the reason NTA leaders were able to make changes is due to the collective strength we demonstrated all week, particularly during Thursday’s All Member Meeting. 

Here is a summary to the relevant sections (full MOU attached here):

PreK-6th grade Transitional Week:
Monday (2/22): Early Release day to ensure that staff learn protocols that will be implemented when students return. Meeting has to include question and answer portion so that members have their needs and concerns addressed. 
Tuesday (2/23), Wednesday (2/24), Thursday (2/25), and Friday( 2/26):  Shall be minimum days and members will remain in distance learning. Members do not have to provide new materials to students. After students are done with their day, teachers shall have the discretion for planning and prep (being on campus will be optional).
Note: on Tuesday 2/23 and Wednesday 2/24, Non-NTA staff will meet with students to help students acclimate to being back on campus (members are not responsible for this).
PreK-2nd grade – First Phase: PreK-2nd grade shall begin in person instruction on March 1, 2021, utilizing the schedule included in the 10/31/2020 MOU
PreK-2nd grade staff shall receive 2 sub days for teachers to do one-on-one testing during the 2020-2021 school year.
PreK-2nd grade staff shall receive a $500 stipend for the rapid transition into in-person instruction. 

3rd-6th grade (self contained)- Second Phase:3rd-6th grade shall begin in person instruction on March 8, 2021, utilizing the scheduled included in the 10/31/2020 MOU

Secondary Schools (7th-12th)- Third Phase: Shall begin in person instruction once county guidelines allow for reopening. Based on current trends, this may be as early as March 8, 2021, but more likely, by March 15, 2021.
NTA will send additional updates as soon as possible. Transitional week (minimum days) shall start the same week 7-12 come back to in person instruction. 

All Grades (PreK-12):Parents may now only change a students designation (from virtual to in class) on March 29th, April 12th, April, 26th, May 10th, or May 24th.
Members must be given at least 24 hours notice before student attends in person instruction. Paid time for Vaccine:
Members shall be released without loss of pay if vaccine is during work day
Paid time for Vaccine: Members shall be placed on paid leave if they become ill as a result of being vaccinated (not deducted from member’s sick leave).
Additional Paid Leaves: If a member who is exposed or test positive for COVID-19 (within 14 days after performing in-person services) and are required to quarantine and cannot work remotely shall be placed on paid leave (not deducted from member’s sick leave). 

Construction at Elementary Schools
The District has assured NTA that any ongoing construction shall not interfere will in person instruction. In addition, they have assured us that Paso Verde School will be with power prior to in person instruction as well as provide movers. 

The rushed approach to reopen schools is not only creating safety concerns throughout the district, it is putting immense stress on teachers and school sites that are not physically ready. 

Updated Students for In-Person Instruction-
Divide by 50% for daily totals (Cohort A and Cohort B)

American Lakes: 246
Bannon Creek: 148
Heron: 384
Jefferson: 269
Natomas Park: 287
Paso Verde: 311
Two Rivers: 296
Witter: 277

Appreciation for all NTA members that have helped during the negotiation process as well as rising to the occasion  for our students and community. 

NTA United for Students, Safety, and Equity!
In solidarity,
NTA negotiations team:

Brenda Borge
Kristen Rocha
Mara Harvey
Georgia Schaaf
Lydiana Alfaro
Ranbir Bains
Randy Hodge
Rachel Green
Maria Atherley
Justin Vorhauer
Emily Baker
Michael Ferguson

NTA Reaches MOU on Returning to Schools

Hello NTA members,

We are happy to announce that on late Saturday afternoon, we were able to reach an agreement regarding a possible reopening to a transitional model. As we previously reported, this was a labor intensive effort by our bargaining team to ensure that we created the safest and most responsible plan for members and students.
Below is a summary of the MOU (Click here to view full MOU): 
Salary Increases– in recognition of the efforts members are making during these unprecedented times and the one time money the District received through the CARES act, we have successfully negotiated the following raises:For 2020-21 school year: One-time 2% salary payment to be paid out in January 2021 and May 2021 (this is an addition to what we previously negotiated 1% ongoing that also takes effect on January 2021). For 2021-22 school year: a 1% ongoing salary raise and a 2% one-time payment in October 2021. We go back to the table on 2022-2023.
No Layoffs or reduction of particular kind of services during the 2021-22 school year

When Schools will open in transitional model (hybrid):If we remain in the red tier through December, schools may reopen in the transitional model on January 4, 20201. The first five days shall be minimum days to practice health and safety protocols with students and get students reacquainted with attending schools in person. If the county reaches the orange tier by November 30, 2020, schools may reopen in the transitional model on December 14, 2020 (It’s worth noting that this is very unlikely). If at any point we go back into purple for two consecutive weeks, we will go into distance learning. This will also trigger a meeting between NTA and the District to discuss if we should stay in distance learning or go into transitional model. If we are placed in a yellow tier, this also triggers a meeting to discuss expanding the in person model. 

Protections for At-risk members:40 remote assignments shall be made available for members in which you will be given a classified employee or sub to provide oversight and support to students in the classroom while teacher lead instruction virtually. First priority for the positions shall be for people that are high risk and suffer adverse effects of Covid-19 in you were to report in person (this will likely require a doctor’s note, please contact us if you have additional questions), in order of seniority.Second priority for members that provide care for a medically compromised person, in order of seniority. The remaining assignments shall be filled through an application process, in order of seniority. 

COVID-19 Testing and Contract TracingStaff have access to free COVID-19 testing and Contact tracing shall be done in conjunction with the County health department.If a member is exposed or contracts COVID-19, they shall be placed on paid leave that is not deducted from personal sick leave. If you are exposed or required to quarantine and if you are able to, you can continue to teach virtually (but only if you are able to still perform daily duties). There will be ongoing testing throughout the year, 12.5% of staff per week will be encouraged (not mandated) to test per week. Anyone that does not pass health screening or shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 shall be denied entry. Students shall be sent home or sent to an isolation room supervised by the principal or trained designee. District shall create a public dashboard that outlines and tracks which school sites and the number of people that have tested positive for COVID-19 (see example).

 Virtual Academy: Virtual Academy shall be created next fall to continue to support students that want to remain in distance learning and staff that may want to remain in remote assignments.
Supports for Teaching and Learning:Consumable materials and manipulative shall be made available. Teachers may be provided microphones if requested, students shall be provided headsets that include microphones.Teachers may request plexi glass barriers.Teachers shall be provided a 6 foot socially distance place in the classroom in a location that allows teacher to address the in class students and virtual learners.A parent and/or student that refuses to comply with safety protocols will be required to participate through distance learning rather that in-person. The use of cameras in the classroom limited to what is used for daily live interaction for distance learning (i.e. zoom, Google meet..etc).Teachers have the ability to mute microphones or turn off cameras for all students.Teachers shall have the access for additional training.Teachers must give consent for anyone to record them pursuant to education code.Students required to wear masks, unless medically exempted 

Childcare accommodations:If there is space available in a teachers classroom, such a teacher may bring school-age children to work with them and/or if there is no space in the classroom such a teacher may request if there are other options on-site.

Changing from distance learning to transitional:Parents cannot change a students designation (of staying in distance learning or transitional) for at least 6 weeks from the start of the transitional model.Thereafter, students designation can only be changed the first Monday of each month. Newly enrolled students shall be limited distance learning for at least one cohort rotation. 

SDC:If a class is under 15 students, in consultation of the SDC teacher, may not be required to split into cohorts and may meet every day, as long as safety protocols are followed. 
RSP: Provide push-in or pull-out support based on in-person enrollment in the classroom
Case Managers:For purposes of getting current with IEP’s and assessments shall receive extra duty rate of pay of $60/hour (up to 40 hours) and/or additional assistance can be provided by an aide, sub, or contract employee. 
Related Service Providers:Additional negotiations to take place regarding impacts and effects for non classroom members, counselors, SLP’s, Nurses, Specialists. NTA is currently requesting for related service providers to join us to negotiate these items. Please email Brenda Borge if you are interested.
Preschool Programs (including SDC):Awaiting guidance, NTA and the District will be negotiating these items in the near future. Preschool teachers can join NTA  bargaining team to ensure these discussion are productive and meaningful. 
Administrators:In consideration of the unprecedented times administrators shall not evaluate based on technological issues beyond a members control. Moreover, administrators are required to consider that this model is new therefore feedback is limited to providing constructive feedback to support with new modalities. 
Schedule Information-Elementary
Schedule Information-Secondary
Additional Information
 Additional information regarding schedules: Students can be in class on alternating days or stay online 100% of the time. Students can drop back into online only if they choose to but can only join in class after a 6 week period has passed (mid February) and will start the first Monday of the month This model was the only one we could could choose that was flexible to move students and teachers to distance learning again quickly, if necessary Sites will return to traditional start and end times, with teacher start 15 min before kids.Current district responses indicate that less than 60% of students intend to return.  
Our model is also an improvement on other nearby models by providing additional prep time and teacher schedule flexibilty (see Elk grove’s MOU regarding schedules on page 80).  General Membership Meeting, Thurs. Nov 5Th at 4:30pm for more detailed presentation and Q&A Please attend the NTA General Membership meeting to review the completed MOU for reopening schools.

Time: Nov 5, 2020 04:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting – Check your home emails for the link.

We should be very proud of the great work from our bargaining team and the long hours and days it took to reach a fair settlement for our members, students, and community.

In solidarity,
NTA negotiations team:

Brenda Borge
Kristen Rocha
Mara Harvey
Georgia Schaaf
Lydiana Alfaro
Ranbir Bains
Randy Hodge
Rachel Green
Maria Atherley
Justin Vorhauer
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