Work to rule in Upper Arlington is legal and will continue indefinitely, teachers’ representative says

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UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — At Upper Arlington schools, teachers and staff are now working to rule — and it’s completely legal, says a teachers association spokesperson.

Leslie Watkins, Upper Arlington Education Association Co-President, said the action is not a prelude to a strike but instead is a way for teachers’ voices to be heard. The work-to-rule began Monday and doesn’t have any end planned for the 542 teachers and other staff.

“We are working under a current contract, so a strike is not even a legal option for us. That’s not where we are at right now,” Watkins said. “We are doing this because we care about our students, and we care about our communities and our families.”

The action is in response to the school board’s decision to return to in-person instruction March 1 despite objections from the teachers’ organization, which says the decision doesn’t uphold social-distancing guidelines and will create safety issues in the buildings.

“We are working to our contract,” said Watkins. “Our contract hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. So outside of that time, we are dedicating our time to our families that we’ve taken away from them for so long.”

Board of Education President Scott McKenzie said in an email statement: “We have a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement with the Upper Arlington Education Association.  We are confident our staff will continue to meet the obligations in that agreement in support of students.”

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