Friday, March 20, 2020: Most Recent
• Two-week closure after spring break is very important to reduce the spread of virus. Only very essential functions can be performed at school. Nonessential staff should stay at home. Future planning should be done virtually.
• SDE is working on remedies to be able to provide pay for support personnel.
o The legislature has closed, so this probably won’t happen as quickly as desired.
o Don’t call the staff back in.
o SDE said school districts can liberally award leave to these personnel. School districts may have the ability to award an additional 10 days sick leave for support and ten days of emergency leave. This is a local decision. Seek your district’s legal counsel for more clarity on what you can and can’t do.
o Boards should decide sick leave issues but could grant authority to Superintendent to decide that between board meetings.
o Federally funded employees should be treated the same as state-funded employees.
• This time is all about safety. Beginning April 6, schools will be planning to transition into how to continue learning, enable graduation, facilitate scholarships, etc. Think now about planning, especially for graduation but also about learning for all others.
• SDE has submitted a waiver for assessment and told vendors not to ship tests.
0 If no assessments, there will be no school report cards.
o SDE will address RSA and 8th-grade reading/driver licenses in a later call.
o Info about how to take AP tests at home will be available by March 26.
o DOE is prepared to expedite waiver requests on assessment and accountability.
• Distance learning is going to look different in different places. Understand this will be very challenging for somewhere IT is lacking. SDE will be seeking federal assistance and looking at how to do distance learning for younger students. Be creative and plan-- Must be done remotely.
o Look for a survey that will be coming about student connectivity. Return it quickly to SDE.
o Will enable the use of RSA funds for mobile devices and mobile hot spots.
o Will provide guidance about which federal funds can and can’t be used for distance learning.
o SDE will be sending out guidance for students with special needs and distance learning.
o It is unlikely that school buildings will be open for a class in a typical way beginning April 6, so make plans now about how you’ll deliver distance learning.
o SDE will provide more formal info about distance learning, beginning with the survey. They’re not going to make you figure it all out for yourself.
o Distance learning really won’t be equitable but try to serve everyone.
o SDE wants distance learning for students to begin no earlier than April 6 in event schools can’t reopen in a typical way. The expectations for schools are being established.
o Enrichment may be initially what can be provided.
• In schools, act as if you’re a virus carrier in doing everyday things to protect others from the transmission.
• Custodians can perform essential functions, but don’t bring all custodians in to do deep cleaning everywhere. Do cleaning to support essential functions only.
• No school district-provided instruction until April 6.
• Medication can be picked up at the school district office - that would be an essential function.
• SBE at March 25 meeting will take up lots of waiver issues, including a waiver for CPR requirements, school calendar, etc.
• If parents ask teachers for assistance, teachers can voluntarily do that. Or teachers can voluntarily reach out to parents, without parent request.
• Child Nutrition - Recommend that schools apply for the seamless summer option (SSO) for child nutrition now
o School nutrition waiver for schools below 50% hasn’t been approved yet.
o Can serve meals to students age 19 if they’re enrolled and attending, like a student who was retained in an earlier grade.
o There are special nutrition age rules for students with disabilities.
o For more information, you can access the most current details here.
• Superintendent Hofmeister encourages everyone to do what’s right. Appreciates leadership.
• Accreditation waivers will be on the SBE agenda on March 25.
• No principals or secretaries should be in school buildings to answer calls and no teachers at school. These people are necessary for the second phase of this effort, beginning April 6.