Dear Members,

After weeks of working tirelessly, we can now provide updates on the requests made in SEA’s official response to the Convocation. Tonight, the union’s request for an in-depth analysis of the Convocation and plan to prevent recurrent factors was met. At a Special Called School Board meeting, Dr. Taylor presented an overview of the 16-page after-action report, which details the events leading up to the Convocation, what went wrong the day of, and addresses methods to prevent similar issues in the future.

At this time, SEA has the following information in response to our remaining requests:

Regarding our request that leave be forgiven for those who took it: Dr. Taylor has advised that he is working on this possibility. He should know more very soon, and we will update you when we have further information.

The after-action report addresses plans for more comprehensive accommodations for medically fragile staff on page 12, stating a next step as “Earlier identification of medical needs and encouragement of staff to self-report, so that a more robust accommodation plan can be developed.”

Regarding our request for restitution payments due to food, transportation, and medical expenses incurred, lost working ability Friday due to heat-related issues, and the resulting number of staff who self-reported working through the weekend as a result: division funds for this would be unavailable without a request for supplemental appropriation of funding from the Board of Supervisors.

On Thursday, August 25th, Dr. Taylor will hold a second Listening and Hearing session for all staff affected by the Convocation who wish to participate. This event will be in the Stafford High School auditorium at 5 p.m.

We hope this information answers remaining questions you may have had regarding the Convocation event. Our thoughts are with those educators who are still suffering from health issues. Though not achieved through the intended means, the fact remains that Stafford educators were unified by the events of August 5th. As we face inevitable challenges that every new school year brings, let us hold on to that unity. United, we will accomplish great things and create positive change.

In solidarity,

Your Executive Board

Dear Members,

We’ve heard from many of you on a wide range of both individual and common issues this week. Please know that SEA is working daily to address these concerns, in particular:

  • We share your deep concerns for new directions given regarding our gender diverse students. We have reached out to the VEA legal department and will update you soon. In the meantime, please follow the directions of your administrators regarding this issue and reach out to SEA with individual questions or concerns. Documentation is key. Thank you to those who have already reached out to offer assistance with this; the more members we have on deck to advocate, the better.

  • While we are awaiting a full response to our official statement following the events of the Convocation, one important request is already being addressed. A report detailing the breakdown in planning and execution of the event will be presented at a Special Called School Board meeting on August 23rd at 6:30p.m. This meeting will be open to the public. We will update you as we receive answers to our remaining requests.

  • The expiration of federally funded leave for covid-19, and lack of anything to replace it, despite a continued recommendation to follow VDH guidelines (which include isolating for at least 5 days following a positive covid-19 test). We are pursuing further information, and will update you soon.

The Board of Supervisors will be meeting at 3:00p.m and 7:00p.m on Tuesday, August 16th. You can view their agenda here. As part of our shared commitment to stay informed and advocate for common issues (like recruiting and retaining county employees), we will attend with members of the Stafford Professional Firefighters Local 4012 (just as they attended our School Board meeting this week!). Please join us in your #Red4Ed to listen, learn, and sit in solidarity with our firefighter friends in their yellow.

This was easily one of the most difficult first weeks in recent history for many educators. We’re fortunate to end it by sharing this good news–on Tuesday, the School Board adopted a resolution to supplement state funding with ESSER funds, resulting in a $1000 one-time bonus for full-time staff and $500 for part-time staff, included in the December 1st paycheck.

It hasn’t been an easy week, but we celebrate the unity and momentum that we continue to see in the face of adversity. We wish everyone a happy weekend. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need us.

In solidarity,

Your Executive Board

The events that transpired leading up to and including the SCPS Convocation on August 5th, 2022, are some of the most unfortunate we have experienced as an association. While SEA supports the goals of the Convocation and agrees with the intended message, it is our position that serious breakdowns in planning and communication occurred. We believe it is important that these breakdowns be analyzed to prevent their recurrence in the future. Though staff expressed concerns regarding the predicted high temperatures, these concerns were dismissed. As a result, the health and safety of over 4,000 Stafford educators was jeopardized. Many staff suffered heat-related illnesses, and many incurred medical, food, and/or transportation expenses. In light of these events, SEA is requesting the following from division leadership:

  1. Forgive the leave for those who chose to stay home Friday, and any additional leave incurred by those who are experiencing continued adverse health issues as a result of the event.

  2. Conduct an investigation into the events leading up to and including August 5th. Provide a thorough explanation of what the plans were, what factors influenced the failure of these plans, and what will be done to prevent a recurrence.

  3. Include a caveat for all staff events that enables medically fragile employees to opt out without taking leave.

  4. To restore expenses incurred and compensate for lost time, provide a restitution payment of $200 for all full-time staff and $100 for all part-time staff no later than December 1, 2022. These payments should be made in addition to any worker’s compensation claims.

While we heartily recognize the positive intent of the Convocation event, it is unfortunate that educators were unable to reap the intended benefits. What they did accomplish was a unity of purpose found in helping fellow educators during a time of great need. Let us take this unity and use its momentum to create positive change. Let us begin this school year by modeling fellowship, positivity, and unity for all staff, students, and stakeholders in Stafford County.

Sincerely,

Stafford Education Association Executive Board

Dear Members,

Your SEA Executive Board met with UniServ Director Melissa Alexander this afternoon. Per advice from VEA legal, anyone whose health was detrimentally affected by today’s event should follow SCPS procedures to file a workplace incident report, regardless of whether or not they sought professional care.

These procedures are outlined below:

  • Notify your supervisor immediately
  • The supervisor will provide you with a panel of physicians
  • Call VRSA to report 877-234-0898, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

    If you have questions regarding these procedures, please reach out to your school nurse and/or administrator. If you are told not to follow these procedures, please reach out to SEA.

    Please pass this advice to non-members who may have been affected, and encourage them to join SEA so they may be ensured protection now and in the future. Remember that only non-work emails should be used, as SCPS emails can be easily subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

    We’ve heard from many of you on a variety of issues this week. Please know that SEA is working daily to address these concerns, and we’ll send updates to common issues as they are available. For now, the health and safety of SCPS educators is our highest priority. We will meet again this weekend, and send updates as they become available.

    The School Board will be meeting at 6:30p.m on Tuesday, August 9th. You can view their agenda here. If you wish to speak on an issue, School Board policy requires that you must sign up by 2p.m on Tuesday (this form is open now).

    Our thoughts are with everyone who was affected by today’s events. Please take care of yourselves and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need us. Have no doubt that SEA will be representing you on Tuesday. We hope to see you there.

    In solidarity,

    Your Executive Board