PPS Sends Memo Questioning Motives Of Staff Who Call Out Sick

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PORTLAND, OR —Portland Public Schools sent a memo to teachers throughout the district questioning the motives of some teachers who call out sick at the last minute. The district is currently in the middle of a crisis in which a combination of staff shortages and COVID-19 cases have forced some schools to close down in-person learning and transition back to comprehensive distance learning.

The memo, from Chief of Human Resources Sharon Reese, also questions whether teachers are doing union work during school hours.

Reese wrote that the district is seeing a "high volume of last-minute educator absences, and a number of schools have had to rapidly transition to temporary distance learning." That, she said, hurts students, families, and communities. Reese then raised questions about the motives behind why teachers call out sick.

"We are getting regular reports of educators being asked by colleagues to call in sick with the intention of causing the district to close schools," Reese said. "Not only does this undermine our core mission by depriving students of in-person learning, it also detracts from the ability of educators to take leave to deal with COVID or other legitimate issues.

"We need to be clear: it is unlawful for educators to participate in any sort of coordinated action to be absent for anything other than a legitimate reason under District policy."

Portland Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for more information about "the regular reports" of teachers trying to force the district to close schools.

The union representing teachers has also not responded to a request for comment.

This article originally appeared on the Portland Patch

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