Petition for Immediate Relief for NC Public School Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

NC Sen. Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore; NC Rep. Tim Moore, Speaker; NC Governor Roy Cooper

Although the coronavirus is a new phenomenon, this situation is far from unique: public school employees are regularly on the front lines of our society’s crises.

Prior to this emergency, public schools were already being asked to do too much with too little.

The COVID-19 pandemic is simply exacerbating problems that have existed for far too long.

 We support our students and one another through the impacts of racism, emotional and physical trauma, a lack of health care, economic insecurity, homelessness, and so many other challenges on a daily basis.

As the racial and social justice caucus of the North Carolina Association of Educators, we are committed to amplifying the voices of our most impacted co-workers and ensuring the safety and well-being of all of our people.

Currently, the tasks of feeding students, cleaning our schools and buses, and readying our buildings for eventual reopening are being carried out by our classified staff. Because many classified staff don’t make a living wage or have adequate health care, many are being forced into an impossible choice: risk their health or risk unemployment.

As employees, we need remedies that provide clear guidelines rooted in basic fairness and safety.

In order to ensure the safety of all members of our public school communities and to ensure an effective response in a worldwide crisis, we ask you to join us in calling for decisive action to ensure:

  • All schools are equipped to care for our communities as safely as possible

  • No public school employees are compelled to work in high-risk situations out of fear of unemployment

  • Staff willing to risk exposure have an opportunity to step up and serve our communities

Sponsored by

To: NC Sen. Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore; NC Rep. Tim Moore, Speaker; NC Governor Roy Cooper
From: [Your Name]

We call upon North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger; Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Tim Moore; and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to enact and fully resource the following measures to protect all public school employees and to allow our schools to support our communities without causing undue hardship or risk.

1. Ensure that ALL public school employees, certified and classified, are guaranteed their current pay for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year;

2. Create clear health and safety standards and resources for risk-assessment that must be followed by ALL school districts as they work to meet the needs of our communities;

3. Provide hazard pay and full medical insurance for all staff who opt into higher risk roles;

4. Implement a process for public school employees to elect to take on roles that are at higher risk for COVID-19 exposure, and open these roles to all staff rather than mandating they be performed by classified staff;

5. Provide all employees options for remote and/or lower risk options of employment regardless of position and leave options and ensure all employees are held harmless if they do not take on duties that place themselves or their families at higher risk.