As you may be aware, authorities are beginning to see evidence that Ohio’s proactive approach to the COVID-19 pandemic is successfully “flattening the curve” by limiting exposure through difficult but necessary measures, such as social distancing and the shutdown of non-essential activities. It is more critical than ever that our individual and collective efforts remain focused on limiting our exposure to potential infection even as we attempt to continue to provide learning opportunities for our students.

CEA has been made aware that some administrators have been soliciting volunteers for activities such as passing out district devices or distribution of instructional materials at school buildings. Other members have taken it upon themselves to organize drop-off of materials at students’ homes. While these initiatives are well intentioned and admirable in their selflessness, they also increase the likelihood of CEA member and community exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Pursuant to the recently negotiated School Closings Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), no CEA bargaining unit member can be directed to perform job duties which contradict the orders of the Governor of Ohio or the Director of the Ohio Department of Health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This provision applies to Ohio’s current Stay at Home Order (including social distancing requirements), which remains in effect through 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. We understand that as educators our instinct is to do whatever it takes for our students. However, no matter how important our work to provide learning opportunities is, the most important thing we can do for our students and families right now is to heed orders and recommendations of our state authorities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEA urges all members not to volunteer to take part in school building and/or in-person work activities. If you are directed by an administrator to participate in such an activity or report to a worksite, please report the directive to CEAHealthSafety@ceaohio.org immediately. Thank you once again for your efforts on behalf of our students, community, and each other amidst unprecedented circumstances.