303-279-3232 Ext. 3
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 27, 2020
JESPA Media Advisory: Jeffco Education Support Professionals demand to bargain worker protections amid COVID-19 pandemic.
JEFFERSON COUNTY – The workers who ensure school buildings are safe and supportive learning environments for students and teachers will soon negotiate their demands for safety before returning to in-person learning this school year with Jeffco Public Schools Administration.
“JESPA, JCEA, and our colleagues around the state have been leading the charge to ensure safe working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re pleased to see that the district heard us and chose to delay the start of school. But our work is not done. Now we call on the district to bargain in public for conditions that must be in place for workers and students to safely return to school,” said Lara Center, President of JESPA.
Many Education Support Professionals (ESP) are elderly or have health conditions that would make contracting COVID-19 especially dangerous. In a recent survey, 75% of ESP in Jeffco said they were “not comfortable at all” returning to work given the current circumstances.
“We believe students are best served by full and robust staffing, adequate and equitable distribution of PPE, mandatory masks, and protections for workers in the event of illness, like paid time off and help with medical bills,” states Center.
Districts across the country, including Denver, Colorado, have already delayed the start of the 2020-21 school year in response to increasing COVID-19 cases and the lack of adequate treatments or a vaccine for the disease.
“We look forward to negotiating with the district for reasonable worker protections” said Center.
Education Support Professionals (ESPs) comprise approximately 4,000 workers across 250 job titles in Jefferson County Public Schools and are represented since 1966 by the Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association (JESPA).