Some things to consider as you move into the coming weeks:
Teachers and adults in the building are more vulnerable to COVID-19 that the students who are more likely to be carriers. Therefore, please ensure that educators who are more susceptible due to compromised immune systems, pregnant, or elderly, are given considerations to tele-work. You might consider a rotation of adults in the building vs all being there at once. Be mindful of child-care needs and allow teachers to bring their own children should they have those needs. If teachers need to not work due to illness, use the model that businesses are using to not dock pay for sick leave, etc. Be flexible and work with your associations. Determine what policies might need to be temporarily waived to accommodate this unusual circumstance. Teachers are already hearing reports of inconsistent practices which adds to frustration and anxiety. Be clear in your communication of what is expected.
Classified employees are also vulnerable at this time. We would expect that you continue to pay your employees and find ways they might be able to help. For example, could bus drivers deliver sack lunches to kiddos on their bus route in rural/remote places as well as those neighborhoods where their only means of transport to school is by bus. Since you are receiving funding, you should still be able to pay your employees.
Our Board of Education meets this week and will be discussing waivers, policies, etc., that may need to be amended. We will send out communication in real time as the decisions are made. We have a wonderful compassionate board who will make decisions in your best interest.
Communication with parents is key. Individual teachers reaching out to students and their parents reassures them that there is broad concern for their students. This is challenging for the many families in some of our areas who don’t speak English and I know that you are already compiling information in other languages.
Monday morning will present new challenges and many questions. It may be confusing for students and families who aren’t tuned in to media. ( I have also heard and read some conflicting reports from the media). You may need to run bus routes just to ensure students aren’t standing at bus stops, etc. I know you have all thought of this and anticipated things I haven’t.
We are in this together and will figure it out. We’ve got this!!!!
Full Email Letter from State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson