As more school districts across the state begin to close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Maine Education Association is working to ensure our students, school employees and all our families are both safe and taken care of during these unprecedented times. In addition to providing resources to support distance learning, the MEA is advocating for several key items that both support our educators and students during this time. Below are the key issues the Association has either already accomplished or is working on to help our members and students 

Already Accomplished

  1. MEA asked the Commissioner of Education, and she has agreed, to be very flexible in terms of waiving the number of required school days.  
  2. MEA asked the State to apply for a federal waiver to request the suspension of mandated standardized tests for this school year. It is not known yet if this waiver will be granted, but the request will be made. The U.S. Department of Education said it recognizes the extraordinary circumstances and will consider targeted one-year waivers of the assessment requirements as well as adjusted testing windows, when needed. 

Advocating For

  1. MEA is working with the superintendents’ association to ensure all staff are paid, even if schools are closed-this is not guaranteed, but MEA is pushing for this to happen. 
  2. MEA is advocating for increased flexibility for remote learning days. 
  3. MEA is advocating for the use of virtual meetings for educators and pushing to keep educators out of buildings. This is not guaranteed, but MEA will push for this to become the new norm for the foreseeable future. 

Guidance

  1. MEA has not in any way condoned an arrangement where educators are in the buildings throughout the shutdown, regardless of what you are hearing from an administrator. If an administrator has created an arrangement in your district regarding your work that you do not find acceptable/comfortable, please contact MEA immediately. Your working conditions are mandatory subjects of bargaining, and MEA is here to support you during this difficult time. 
  2. MEA recommends you DO NOT agree to use sick time if you need to be out of work to care for a family member or if you are in a high-risk category. 
  3. MEA recommends if hourly employees are being asked to conduct duties outside of your normal duties that you agree to helping, but only if that duty seems reasonable. For example, an ed tech asked to help pack lunches, in a safe way with enough distance would seem reasonable. If you have a question about what seems reasonable, contact MEA immediately. 

MEA Contact Information

Email 

To email us, fill out the contact form on this page. Please select “Connect me with my UniServ Director” as the subject. 

To call 

MEA Headquarters Augusta-622-5866 

Auburn-784-4006 

Bangor-942-2907 

Caribou-498-3191 

The health and safety of our students and staff are our primary concerns during this difficult time. Part of ensuring our families stay healthy means also making sure our students have food to eat. For too many students, they rely on our hot breakfast and lunch programs in school. MEA encourages you to take care of each other and your neighbors during this time, in a safe way.   

If you need remote learning resources, MEA has compiled a list of those as well on our website. In addition, if you need support to help deal with the stress of this situation, the CDC provided this specific guidance.  

The Maine Department of Education has many resources as well (see below). In addition, MEA encourages you to sign up for the DOE updates, as this situation is changing regularly. You can sign up for those notifications here. 

Remote Learning Resources 

These are challenging times and we are in unchartered territory. MEA appreciates your thoughtfulness to everyone’s needs during this time. Please be safe, be kind, and reach out with your questions. MEA is here for you and advocating for our educators and students during this difficult time.