By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Union, district agree to wait for vaccines before reopening schools

Educators become eligible for the vaccine Monday, although it remains unknown when they will receive the first dose.

A second dose will follow three or four weeks later, after which they will begin returning to the classroom.

Officials from the district and the McMinnville Education Association, or McEA, signed the memo of agreement Thursday morning after spending many hours negotiating this week.

According to a joint statement, the agreement “will help guide the transition from Comprehensive Distance Learning to a hybrid model” in which students will spend some time learning at school and some at home.

[See also: With new metrics, schools continue planning for eventual return to classroom]

Superintendent Maryalice Russell said she is pleased by the agreement, which will allow all students to return to classrooms as community health metrics allow.

Both the district and union “prioritize the safety and well-being of our entire community,” she said. Both “will continue to work together to provide safe, positive learning experiences for students.”

McEA Bargaining Chairman Eric Svec said negotiations about the safest way to resume in-person classes “got off to a difficult start.” 

In the end, though, he said, the district and educators collaborated with “a common goal of providing students with the best education possible while keeping our schools safe.”

In addition to working out the return plan, the district and union have been bargaining since the spring of 2020 in an effort to work out a new contract.

The old three-year agreement expired July 1, but its terms apply until the new one is signed.

Bargaining teams for both sides met for more than 70 hours over the months before turning to mediation in December.

Negotiations are continuing.



I'm so sad for our kids that our school district has failed them miserably.


Schools should have never closed as the data/science show us. Get to work or fire any teacher that won't teach. Let them draw un-employment if they are at risk, like the rest of us.


I find this interesting. Teachers are not wanting to return because of the potential risk... has anyone ever thought of the maintenance and custodian's who have worked ALL through this. In the schools still, maintaining the kitchens where food is prepared and in class rooms where other staff go? They have worked through this through the entire pandemic. How hard is it to get our kids back in school? This county has already lost one child due to their world be rocked as it is and now there is another delay? Don't we all know how to wash hands and wear a mask by now?

Don Dix

The gov. is beholden to the OEA (fact). She panders to them on a regular basis (another fact). She claims to be all about science and fact, but a closer inspection says otherwise. Here are the numbers as of 1/24/21:

Death of 80-plus -- 52.55% of total
Deaths over 60 -- 90.83% of total
Deaths over 50 – 97.1% of total
Zero deaths under 10 -- 1 death under 20 -- 3 under 30. These numbers completely undermine the decision to put teachers ahead of seniors for vaccination.

We know from experience the gov. never takes responsibility for anything. In just the last year, employment department failures, Portland riots, and out of control wildfires were all typically blamed on someone or something else.

It's fairly evident the gov. is attempting to appeal to her financial political support, and leaving those most at risk to delay immunization. And when asked by several reporters the 'why', the answer always avoided the truth with political doublespeak and never an honest answer.

So, the question arises -- who or what will be blamed when science and fact clearly say the chosen path is invalid and unethical?

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