COVID-19 Resources

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We have compiled a list of important resources for our members regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington State. The table of contents can help you locate the general topic you're looking for. If you have anything to add or have questions, please contact Cortney Marabetta, Communications Specialist, at cmarabetta@aftwa.org.

This page is updated daily.

Page Contents

  1. Bargaining and Union Issues
  2. Worker Rights and Assistance
  3. Federal Actions
  4. Instructional Guidance and Institutional Issues
  5. News Updates
  6. General Information

 

Bargaining and Union Issues

The shutdown of campuses and move to online learning platforms will have obvious effects on our work, especially those who are contingent faculty and classified staff. We have created documents highlighting principles for higher ed bargaining related to COVID-19 and principles for classified bargaining related to COVID-19. In addition, the state Attorney General has provided guidance on paid administrative leave and whether it counts as a gift. AFT Washington has also sent a letter to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges regarding ways to mitigate harm to employees during the COVID-19 crisis by keeping adjuncts and other faculty employed. 

The Office of Financial Management has released a letter directing state employees, including the presidents of all higher-ed institutions, to identify savings and potential reductions in operating budgets for 2020 and 2021, and to move program changes that would have been proposed for 2021-2023 earlier.

 


Worker Rights and Assistance

Washington State launched a new website to be a clearinghouse for COVID-19 information across the state agencies. Several state agencies have been at the frontlines of the state's response to COVID-19. The Employment Security Department has released guidelines for benefits, and also has answers to commonly-asked questions about how the federal stimulus packages affected Washingtonians. The Department of Health also has information on the COVID-19 outbreak, including in languages other than English. OSPI has their own guidance for schools, and has also released priorities for labor leaders.

Insurance is an issue when dealing with a medical crisis. Washington's Healthcare Exchange is open for the duration of the crisis. SEBB has provided information on benefits; PEBB has also released specific information on continuing eligibility for PEBB benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak. Make sure you know which program you are covered under. 

There are also resources for denial of benefits - the Unemployment Law Project may be able to help - and WorkerLaw has put out a high-level overview of the changes COVID-19 is creating legally, with a mix of federal and Washington State information.

In addition, AFT has added a trauma coverage benefit that is available to members now. The benefit is explained here; there is also an FAQ. This benefit is not tied to the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

 


Federal Actions

The earliest federal responses to COVID-19 were a bit more general than the later ones. There's information on what a federal emergency declaration does. HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, provided paid sick leave, tax credits, and free COVID-19 testing; expanded food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increased Medicaid funding, but the practical outcome of that wound up being rather narrow. AFT has provided a summary of the FFCRA. There is also a poster, and a summary of its provisions on student meals and sick leave

The CARES Act has more specific provisions on higher education and on PreK-12. The state's allocation of funding is hereAnother breakdown includes the Governor's fund portion and the relief fund portion. 

The fourth COVID-19 relief package is being planned now (mid-April). While nothing is yet definite, AFT has a document on their top asks of Congress, and one that outlines their specific priorities for the fourth bill

The HEROES Act has been passed by the House and is waiting on action from the Senate. You can read a summary of the Act here.

 


Instructional Guidance and Institutional Issues

The AFT and AAUP have put together a set of guiding principles for higher ed, including treatment of employees, of whistleblower researchers, intellectual property, and other issues.

The AFT has also issued guidance regarding affiliate elections in light of pandemic response measures that may be in place. 

 


News Updates

Seattle Times' daily COVID-19 updates

The Tacoma News-Tribune's COVID-19 coverage

The Spokane Spokesman-Review's COVID-19 section

 


General Information

AFT's COVID-19 resources for members

ShareMyLesson's COVID-19 lessons and resources

Fact Sheets About COVID-19 in 15 Languages 

Foundation for Working Families Hardship Request Form