Dear Valued POE Members:

As our schools prepare to re-open in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overwhelming anxiety and fear in our state is evident. Of course, we long for the days when we can return to teaching our students in person.

As we progress toward the start of school, please know that POE’s number one priority is keeping you and your students safe

We have spoken directly with the Governor’s office, Senator Jim Inhofe, Senator Lankford’s State Outreach Director, as well as many local School Districts and School Boards about your safety concerns on going back to the classroom. We strongly advocated to extend the timeframe for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to the end of May 2021. We also advocated for additional protection and leniency for our special educators in meeting the Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) requirements.

Safe and Healthy Work Environment
When in-person instruction begins it is paramount that specific and effective health precautions be implemented to protect our students and all school personnel. The Oklahoma State School Board Association is compiling a list of reopening plans for each school district. 
Although most plans contain numerous protections for employees and students, there are undoubtedly many employees who will be unable to return to school. If you have specific health issues that may impact your ability to return to in-person instruction in school, self-isolation will not be sufficient under the current law. You will need to seek proper medical diagnosis to afford yourself the benefits under the recently passed FFCRA, use of sick leave, extended leave, and/or emergency leave.
The FFCRA, currently effective through December 31, 2020, provides additional relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and applies to all public school employees including teachers, administrators, and support staff. The FFCRA went into effect on April 1, 2020, and requires school districts to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
Moreover, POE has asked state and national leaders to help extend the FFCRA to the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Please see POE’s FAQs regarding COVID-19 and the FFCRA for additional information.

Given the quickly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing number of cases in our state, POE will be conducting weekly member surveys to remain up-to-date on your opinions regarding the reopening of schools and what you think is needed to change and maintain safety for all. We will use your responses to give accurate and up-to-date information on what you, our members, are facing in the schools to state and national leaders in order to implement needed changes.

Your protection is most important to us.


Ginger Tinney
Executive Director