During the Coronavirus outbreak, we’ve all had to carry a bit of a burden. From having to wear masks in summer heat to closing businesses, to missing out on graduations, funerals, weddings and other landmark lifetime events, we’ve all taken our hits, even if involuntarily.
The Oregon Education Association, the union for most teachers in the state of Oregon, seems to be looking to get out of its share of pain.
It takes a couple of clicks to get to it, but the OEA website is pretty transparent about what it wants — at least as far as Coronavirus policy.
The OEA “maintains three key priorities for the safety of our students, staff and schools.” The first two — “protecting vulnerable students and educators” and “maintaining student access to nutritional meals” — seem reasonable.
The third seems self-serving:
Ensuring Educators Are Kept Whole During The Crisis: Educators who are not able to report to schools during the COVID-19 epidemic, either due to self-quarantine or because of district-mandated school closures, should be placed on paid administrative leave and kept financially whole.
It seems odd to specify that if a teacher can’t report to “schools,” they should be put on paid administrative leave. Wouldn’t it be better to say “can’t report to work?”
Everyone else is using their creativity to find a way to virtual productivity. It would seem the education system, which is gearing up for “distance learning,” should certainly have the technology and creativity to support this.
Further, if an educator is unable to work, why should they be put on “paid administrative leave,” which means full pay and no work? Why can’t they use sick time, short-term and long-term disability provisions to cover these situations?
There’s not any real difference between Coronavirus and any other illness, is there?
As government asks — nay, commands — businesses to shutter, destroying livelihoods and exacting huge costs on the private sector, it’s unbecoming for educators to ask the same private sector that foots the bill for the educational establishment to make them whole at all costs.