Submitted by the Fort Scott Kansas National Education Association’s Media Relations Contact Brian Pommier.
Prior to this school year, the Fort Scott KNEA negotiations team sat
down with their counterparts on the USD 234 Board of Education’s team and came to an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding dealing with COVID-19.
At Monday night’s meeting, however, the board voted to change the COVID-19 quarantine requirements previously in place, which we believe to be a violation of the terms of the agreement.
Included in the MOU was an agreement to put the Return to Learning plan in place for this school year and to jointly address issues arising to COVID-19.
The Return to Learning plan defines the term “close contact” as someone who has been within “6 feet of the case for 10 minutes or more or if they had direct exposure to secretions into their nose, eyes, or mouth (for example, being coughed or sneezed on).”
The plan also stated that close contacts must remain in quarantine until they have met the criteria for release from quarantine set by KDHE or SEKMCHD.
On Monday, however, the board of education voted 4-3 to change the district’s policy regarding the quarantine of close contacts. Now, someone who has spent more than 10 minutes within six feet of
someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 no longer has to quarantine so long as masks are worn.
The board’s decision — in essence — to redefine the term “close contact” to avoid quarantine violates the terms of the agreement.
The issue should have been addressed in conjunction with the FSKNEA, as per our agreement.
The FSKNEA negotiations team denounces the board’s action and demands that the board honor the Memorandum of Understanding.
During our negotiations this summer, the FSKNEA found the board of education willing to come to a common-sense agreement to address COVID-19 issues in an attempt to re-open our schools and
allow in-person learning to occur.
We are disappointed in the board’s decision to back away from that
agreement without even discussing the issue with our team.