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EPEA January 2022 Update #2

Hello EPEA and EPPEA!

If you are a little like me, you may feel like we are on a very long hike, trudging through the deep snow. The bright side: we are all trudging through together!

As we continue in our work, please know that we have many guides amongst us to steer our path, provide support, and encourage us on! If you are wondering who your EPEA "guides" are, please check here.

For additional updates and helpful information, please see below.

UPCOMING ELECTIONS: Monday, Feb. 28th

On Monday, Feb. 28th, EPEA/EPPEA will conduct a vote for ALL elected positions: EPEA President, EPEA Vice President, EPEA Treasurer, Site Representatives, and Delegates for the EdMN Rep. Assembly. Note: This is a new timeline for Site Reps to be elected, which will allow EPEA membership to streamline the number of elections held per school year. The deadline to submit your interest to run for any of the above positions is Friday, January 28th.

Please submit your interest (name, position interested in) to current EPEA Vice President, Nathan Gabel by 4pm on January 28th. Additional information regarding positions' duties/responsibilities can be found in the current EPEA Bylaws. More information/reminders regarding the annual vote will be forthcoming.


LIONS and TIGERS and COVID, OH MY!

As you are monitoring your local, national, and worldly events, there is much about our uninvited 2-year friend: COVID.

1) EPS strategizes to remain in-person: EPS leadership is committed to remaining in-person through the surge of the omicron variant. In order to do so, EPS has a number of strategies it will put into place to maximize staffing when a building is seeing educators needing to be away from work. Principals will communicate with their own staff regarding what those strategies look like and when those strategies might be implemented. Site Representatives will be receiving additional information (likely next week) and can help support some inquiries you may have after the all-staff communication.

2) Vaccine Status Reporting Mandate: As with any employer who has 100 or more employees, EPS must comply with OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard which requires all employees to either provide proof of vaccination or submit a weekly COVID test result and wear a facial mask. The communication has/will come from VAULT, and all information will be held confidentially. Site supervisors will be provided a list of individuals to whom a weekly COVID test is to be administered/recorded.

3) EPS following new CDC Guidelines: As you may well be aware, the CDC has updated its isolation and quarantine guidelines, including qualifiers and duration. EPS is following the new guidelines. You can refamiliarize yourself with the Updated CDC Guidelines for Exposure with the link.

UPCOMING EPEA/EPPEA EVENTS:

1) Sweet Celebration: On February 16 or 17, each EPEA and EPPEA member is welcome to share a sweet treat in celebration of making it to our 100th day of school. Caramel rolls will arrive at your site 30 minutes before student contact time begins with students (most likely in your staff lounge). If you are an educator who serves EPO solely, your sweet treat (not a caramel roll) will arrive at your home around the same time period.

2) EPEA Union Week: Strengthening our Community: The week of April 18 serves as a time to concentrate our efforts to have a lasting, positive impact. During this week our negotiators will host a listening session with door prizes, there will be an EPEA scholarship fundraiser raffle, there will be a food drive to help our local PROP, and perhaps a surprise or two as well. At this time, we are looking to collect possible raffle donations you may have or know of for the EPEA Senior Scholarship raffle event: products, gift cards, service or experience packages, etc. If you have any leads or donations to share, please pass those on to EPEA President, Dominic Kirkpatrick.

3) EPPEA Contract Negotiations: EPPEA negotiators will be at the bargaining table this summer in hopes to reach a tentative agreement for the 2022-2024 EPPEA contract. If you are a preschool teacher interested in joining the wonderful negotiator team, please connect with Dominic Kirkpatrick to express your interest.


2022 RETIREMENT REMINDERS:

For those who plan to retire at the end of our school year, your deadline to inform HR is Friday, February 4th by 5pm. For guidance in what your email/letter could sound like, see the January Update #1.

In addition, if you have not already done so, you will want to meet with TRA and your personal financial planner to make sure all those related retirement tasks are acknowledged and accomplished. Additional information will come to you from EPS' post-employee partner "HR Simplified" for all the insurance-related items.


EPEA leaders wish you all a warm and relaxing "3 Day Weekend." We continue to be here to serve and support.


In service,

Our Executive Team, Site Reps, Member Rights Advocates, Negotiators, Meet and Confer Reps, Re-Licensure Reps, Insurance Committee Reps, Q-Comp Steering Committee, Labor-Management Committee, and EdMN Field Staff

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