School Re-Opening FAQ for Employees

  • 1. Will there be required COVID-19 training for staff prior to the opening of schools?
    Yes. As we are accommodating for students to utilize the buildings, staff members will have professional development opportunities directly related to COVID-19 on August 12 and 13th. The mode of training will vary and is forthcoming.

    2. Is it safe to return to work?
    We are taking every precaution to ensure our workplace is safe. We are following federal health and safety guidelines as well as guidance from our state and local governments. We are implementing social distancing practices to keep our workplace healthy. We are requiring all individuals to wear facemasks and/or maintain at least 6 feet social distancing when interacting in person with others. 

    3. Can I continue to work from home?
    Yes, depending on your contractual assignment. We expect all employees to report to work at their normal location and based on the schedule that was contained in your contract or letter of appointment when the district deems it is safe to do so.

    4. Do I have to return to any workplace setting if I do not feel comfortable for fear of getting the virus?
    Although very understandable, having a fear or anxiety related to the coronavirus does not exempt an employee from returning to the workplace options. If you do not have a medical condition covered under the ADA, another option would be to take a leave of absence for the year.

    5. How does the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) define “close contact”?
    The CDC defines “close contact” as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes without each person wearing a mask in an unventilated room.

    6. Are critical infrastructure workers permitted to continue working following potential exposure to COVID-19 if they are asymptomatic?
    Yes, provided they are exhibiting NO symptoms AND additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

    7. What is the process to request an accommodation due to a disability or other serious medical condition?
    The employee should contact Human Resources Department for outlining of the process and response to subsequent questions.

    8. Can we legally take an employee’s temperature?
    Ordinarily, checking an employee’s temperature is considered a medical examination under the ADA. However, the EEOC has issued guidance that allows temperatures to be taken under the current circumstances. It should be remembered that some people infected with COVID-19 do not exhibit high temperature readings. Accordingly, taking temperatures should be accompanied by considering other symptoms that an employee might be exhibiting.

    9. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 but is not showing any symptoms, can they still work from home if their position is one that can work remotely?
    Yes, if they feel like they can work remotely they should be allowed to do so.

    10. What leave options are available to employees?
    Please contact Human Resources for additional leave options.

    11. How do I apply for a leave?
    Contact Human Resources to discuss your individual situation and they will guide you to the appropriate option.

    12. Can an otherwise healthy employee take a leave to stay home under FMLA to avoid getting COVID-19?
    The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. Leave taken by an otherwise healthy employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to COVID-19 would not be protected under FMLA.

    13. What is the protocol to return to work if an employee has confirmed COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19?
    At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as (a) a
    resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications; and (b)
    improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, etc.) and
    at least 10 days have passed since the first symptoms emerged.
    OR
    (a) There has been a resolution of fever as outlined in scenario one; and (b) an
    improvement in respiratory symptoms, and (c) the individual has received
    negative results of an FDA emergency use authorized COVID-19 test for
    detection of the virus that caused COVID-19 from at least two consecutive
    respiratory specimens collected greater than 24 hours apart (2 negative results).

    14. If someone within our district contracts COVID-19, will employees they work with be told who it is?
    No. Employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding their medical
    information. Therefore, we must maintain the confidentiality of any suspected or
    confirmed cases. That said, we would inform other employees working at the
    same location of their possible exposure to the virus as employees have a right
    to know if there is a health risk in the workplace. Employees then, can, and
    should, determine if they want to be checked by their physician.

    15. If I need to be tested for COVID-19, will the District pay for it?
    If an employee is directed by the District to be tested for COVID-19 the district
    will pay for the testing. Please confirm with Benefits for other options that may be available.

    16. Will we have in-person meetings?
    In order to promote social distancing in the workplace, meetings with attendance larger than 10 will have a virtual option.

    17. Who will clean office/work spaces, common areas and classrooms?
    The sanitizing and cleaning of these areas will be the shared responsibility of employees and custodial staff during the workday. Office/work spaces, classrooms and other common areas will have spray bottles with cleaning and disinfecting products that should be used to clean the area. Conference rooms and offices used for meetings are cleaned at the conclusion of each meeting by the exiting attendees. Custodial staff will clean and sanitize office/work spaces, playgrounds, cafeteria, and restrooms frequently throughout the day and nightly. Students will not be responsible for sanitizing or cleaning.

    18. If I get sick or test positive for COVID-19 after I return to work, whom do I notify and what happens next? Do I have to use my personal leave to get well?
    An employee who gets sick or tests positive for COVID-19 after returning to work should notify his/her direct supervisor and Human Resources. The District will keep confidential the identity of the employee, but will advise anyone who may have encountered the employee who may have been exposed according to Protocols for Arizona School Districts regarding action steps upon possible COVID-19 exposure. Under FFCRA, an employee who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis is entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at regular rate of pay. Employees in this category could also be eligible for FMLA.

    19. In the instance of a contracted/certified employee feeling unsafe with returning to work, will the district release them from their contract without imposing liquidated damages?
    No. At this time, because we are providing for remote learning, employees breaking their contract will still be subject to liquidated damages.

    20. Will additional sick leave days be provided, especially for new(er) teachers to encourage those who are symptomatic/sick to stay home?
    At this time the District is not increasing the number of board approved annual leave and/or sick days. Talk with Human Resources to see additional leave plan options.

    21. What is the liability for staff when being tasked with temperature checks and will job descriptions be adjusted to account for the increase of responsibility?
    Staff operating within their directed scope of work as an employee of the District are covered under the District’s liability insurance. There will not be a change in district job descriptions. Everyone’s job descriptions contain statements about performing necessary tasks, and such tasks as taking temperatures or sanitizing materials in our work environments fit into those descriptions.

    22. Will all staff be provided health care: part and full time employees?
    Staff are eligible to enroll in the District health insurance plans if they are benefits eligible. See Benefits Specialist to see if you are eligible.

    23. What is the district’s stance on those with mental health diagnoses such as anxiety and depression when reporting to work? Will there be accommodations made for employees who feel unsafe or uncomfortable returning?
    The employee should contact Human Resources if they are requesting an accommodation to find out what options are available.

    24. What leave is available for staff who need to be home with one or more of their children who may be sent home from school for any 1 of the COVID symptoms?
    Families First Corona Virus Act (FFCRA) provides the following:
    - 2/3rds pay up to $200/day; total of $2,000 when an employee is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self- quarantine as described in (2);
    - See Human Resources for leave plan options

    https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

    25. Will teachers and staff members be getting raises to honor 20% by 2020?
    All staff will receive the board approved pay increases for the 20/21 school year.

    26. If a staff member gets COVID-19, will extended sick leave be granted so that if that employee uses up their leave and they are still testing positive, or are very ill for an extended period of time they will be taken care of?
    The Families First Corona Virus Act (FFCRA) provides employees who are exhibiting symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis $100% of their pay up to two weeks (80 hours or part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave based on the higher of their regular rate of pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total. FFCRA will occur first then employee sick leave can be used. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

    27. How will teacher evaluations occur during our school year? Will we be required to use the LOI when teaching online?
    The school and district administration will determine the modified evaluation process and will notify staff accordingly.

    28. Will the district require all staff to be tested for Covid-19 prior to the first day of school?
    The district will not require testing.

    29. If I do become ill and am hospitalized or quarantined causing me to be out of work for an extended period of time, how do I manage my absences? Is there someone who will help me or my family member in managing my absences? I guess I’m looking for a written procedure to follow. Something that I can refer to or have a family member use in my behalf that walks us through the steps. I am looking for something similar to what you have given us for a planned/unplanned absence reference sheet.
    Continue reporting your absence online and contact your supervisor, a family member may communicate your absence(s).

    30. If we are teaching face to face and I am ill for any reason, do I still contact Kelly Services? Will we be using outside substitutes or will teacher’s be required to do sub rotation? If we are required to do sub rotation will we be compensated for our time?
    Employees will be compensated for EXTRA time if they providing substitute services.

    31. Will children in special education also need to wear masks or will it be based on IEP/Individual needs?                                 
    Yes, based on individual sensory / medical needs (for ALL scholars)

    32. If a staff member tests positive or is quarantined for COVID 19 who else will need to be tested or quarantined? All students in their class? All students/staff they come in contact with? What will be required for a staff member/student to return to campus (Dr. note)?
    If tested positive, a doctor's note will be required prior to returning to work - will notify others if they are exposed -  (employees are asked to quarantined 14 days) - (students will be required to also quarantined for 14 days) - CANNOT identify persons (HIPPA/FERPA) - depending on symptoms, may have an option to work remotely (students may continue online learning if able to) - IF NO TEST RESULTS: doctor documentation that can allow to return to work (must be 72 hours symptom free)

    33. If as a site or district we need to close physically due to a COVID 19 outbreak will there be a delay as we move to online learning for all or will it start the next scheduled school day?
    Online learning may continue and return to the buildings within 24-48 hours

    34. If an employee cannot work because schools are closed.  Will they be able to file for unemployment?
    If an employee is laid off or furloughed they may be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.

    35. What is the required temperature for sending a student home?
    The School Health Office will send students home that have temperatures at or above 100.4^

    36. It will be difficult to prevent children from choking if we cannot see their mouths while they are wearing a mask.  Some children have a history of putting non-edible items in their mouths.  May these children wear face shields instead of masks?
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children 2 years and older should wear "cloth face coverings" when they are "in the community setting" to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.   When a mask impedes a child’s ability to breathe normally, or when they are unable to remove the mask on their own if needed, the CDC recommends that a face covering should not be worn.                                                                                                              Preschool and elementary students can benefit from wearing masks if they do not touch their mouths or noses a lot. Secondary school students should wear cloth face masks, especially when they can't stay a safe distance apart. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Return-to-School-During-COVID-19.aspx

    37. I'm concerned about the potential for virus spread in the shared bathrooms.  If we need to work on campus, what procedures will the District have in place to reduce virus spread in the bathrooms?
    Custodial staff will have consistent procedures to properly clean all bathrooms (i.e. door handles and the like).