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4J Benefits and Wellness Newsletter – January 2019 – Issue 309

Eugene Education Association - EEA

Prepared by Julie Wenzl • 541-790-7682 • wenzl@4j.lane.edu • January 23, 2019 • Issue Number 309


The Joint Benefits and Wellness Committees seek your input on the 4J Wellness Clinic. Whether you are a current clinic user, a former clinic user, or have never used the wellness clinic, we would love to hear from you. Your participation on or before February 15, 2019, would be greatly appreciated.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/201819wellnessclinicsurvey

If you have already completed your Wellness Clinic Survey, thank you! The Committees appreciate your time and feedback.


If you have family members eligible for OEBB or PEBB benefits you may be affected by Senate Bill 1067. Among other provisions, SB 1067 prohibits double coverage under OEBB or a combination of OEBB and PEBB coverage.

To help you understand the effects of the change to double coverage, OEBB will host a webinar on January 30, 2019, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. If you are interested in this topic, you should register for the webinar even if the date/time is not convenient. Everyone who registers will receive a follow-up e-mail with links to the recording and presentation slides. This will allow you to review the content at your convenience.

If OEBB has a valid e-mail address for you, you should have received an e-mail with the webinar information January 17, 2019. If you didn’t receive or save that e-mail, click the link below to register:



As a Moda Health member, you now have access to the Active&Fit Direct program. For $25 a month, you can choose from over 9,000 participating health clubs nationwide.

The program offers:

  • A free guest pass to try out a fitness center before joining
  • An option to switch gyms to make sure you find the right fit
  • Online tracking from a variety of wearable devices, apps, and exercise equipment.

To get started, log into your myModa account: https://www.modahealth.com/oebb/.

Under the myHealth tab, click the link for Discounted Gym Membership. This will take you to the Active&Fit Direct website, where you can learn the program details and get signed up.

To find a participating fitness center near you, enter your zip code. You should contact the gym of your choice before signing up to see if there are any additional membership conditions or requirements.

To join the Active&Fit Direct Program, you’ll need to pay a $25 enrollment fee, plus $25 for the current month and a $25 monthly fee for the next month (as well as any applicable taxes). A recurring $25 payment starts in month two and is applied as prepayment for the following month.

Once you are signed up, you will bring your Active&Fit Direct fitness card to your fitness center. The fitness center may ask you to complete additional forms.


If you are considering retirement sometime during or at the end of the school year, please make sure you are aware of the requirements and timelines. There are two steps you’ll need to take to complete your retirement:

  1. Contact PERS to begin your Service Retirement process.
  2. Contact Julie Wenzl (541-790-7682 or wenzl@4j.lane.edu) to learn about your 4J retirement benefits and complete your 4J retirement paperwork.

To get advice regarding your PERS retirement, you’ll need to work with your financial planner or directly with PERS. 4J does not give PERS advice. The phone number for PERS is 888-320-7377 and the website is http://oregon.gov/PERS/. You can find a great deal of information on the PERS website, and can download forms and sign up for education sessions as well.

Article 4.9 of our contract specifies that you must give the District at least 60 days notice of your intention to retire:

The District will provide two supplemental retirement plans for eligible unit members. A unit member hired and employed as a bargaining unit member prior to July 1, 1998 and continuously a bargaining unit member until the date of retirement from District employment, is eligible for Supplemental Retirement Plan A. A bargaining unit member hired and employed on or after July 1, 1998, is eligible for Supplemental Retirement Plan B. A unit member who elects supplemental retirement must provide the District with at least sixty (60) days advance notice of retirement. Notice may be revoked or waived with District consent.

Article 4.9.1.b of our contract outlines an additional timeline requirement for plan A retirees:

By April 1st, unit members must give the District Human Resource Department a written commitment which specifies a retirement date if they intend to retire during the period from April 1st through November 15th. If unit members provide this commitment by April 1st, they shall be advanced two payments of the monthly supplemental retirement stipend in the first month following termination from the District. If unit members do not provide this commitment by April 1st and retire during the period from April 1st through November 15th, the unit members shall not be paid the monthly supplemental retirement stipend or the District insurance contribution during the first two months following retirement.

Regardless of participation in 4J retiree insurance, licensed employees must provide a 60-day written notice of intent to leave 4J employment as required by ORS 342.553 (1).


Valinda Westmore is a 4J Wellness Clinic Counselor who can be seen through referral at the 4J Wellness Clinic. She has asked me to share this article with you.

On Nov 29, 2018, the Register-Guard ran an article written by Alisha Roemeling who spoke to the emerging “behavioral crisis” among students in Lane County.  As administrators, teachers, educational assistants, and all other support staff who come into contact with young children and teens on a daily basis, the need for “fierce” self-care each day is not only important, but essential in creating an opportunity in the body for relaxation and renewal.

One of the most beneficial ways to “down regulate” the central nervous system is to engage in deep breathing practice. This is also a strategy that can support students who are struggling with their own individual emotional regulation challenges. Please join me in learning and practicing breathing as a way to stimulate the body’s relaxation response.

A Relaxation Response – How Do I Get One?  Being a physiological response, there are many ways to accomplish this. One of the best strategies is BREATHE.

REMEMBER, your “fight or flight” response has been doing its thing uninterrupted for a while, so eliciting a relaxation response may take a bit of practice, but you will get there and the results will be worth it!

Now for the how….CONTROL YOUR BREATHING (Yes. I know you’ve heard it all before, but stay with me).

When your breathing is under control, the physical symptoms that are associated with shallow rapid breathing (which is an oversupply of oxygen and increased heart rate) will reverse.

BEGIN. Find someplace to begin practicing breathing: office, car, on a brief walk, or right where you are in the moment!

Breathe in through your nose to the count of three; pause for a brief moment when the lungs are full, then slowly exhale through your nose – one, two, three.

Repeat until you begin to notice relaxation in the body and mind.

This practice will “disarm” your fight or flight, give you a sense of calm, and will disarm your central nervous system – good health and emotional wellness will follow.

Keep Breathing and Carry On!
Valinda Westmore, MSW, LCSW


If the 24-hour news cycle has you feeling down and you need some positive news, one website you can try is https://www.sunnyskyz.com/. This site shares uplifting news, inspirational stories, and feel good pictures and videos.

The information in this newsletter has been summarized. It is presented as information – not advice or counsel. In all instances, the benefits, conditions, and limitations as outlined in the 4J Master Contracts prevail over this representation. Please refer to your Benefits booklet or master contracts available at the District offices for additional information regarding your benefits plans.

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