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Messages to Staff for Return to School and Safety

August 12, 2020

Dear School District 189 Staff,

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) 

The new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides qualified employees with paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave specific to COVID-19.  This includes when the employee is subject to Federal, State or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19.

These benefits are only provided to staff who have been employed for at least 30 days. You may view the full Act here to learn the limitations and allowances of the Act: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

Reporting Known or Perceived Exposure to COVID-19

A. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify your supervisor and provide medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com.

B. If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask), you are to immediately notify your supervisor and provide appropriate documentation to the Human Resources department.You are required to quarantine for 14 days total after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.

    • During the quarantine period applicable FFCRA days (maximum two weeks, up to 80 hours) or employee sick leave will be used. You may be eligible for temporary Remote Work Assignment during this time. Contact your supervisor for an application for Remote Work Assignment if you want to continue to work while in quarantine and not wish to use FFCRA or sick leave days. 

    • If you opt to take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative test result, you must continue to quarantine for a total of 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. 

    • If you receive a positive result, FFCRA days (maximum two weeks, up to 80 hours) or sick leave days must be used. You cannot report back to work until written documentation is provided from a medical professional or testing facility verifying a negative COVID-19 test result.

    • Please note: violations of the social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines while in the workplace are subject to disciplinary action. We strongly encourage you to practice these safety guidelines outside of the workplace as well, in order to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spread in our community. 

C. If someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested for COVID-19, quarantine from work, and immediately notify your supervisor and sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com of the status. You must submit documentation from a medical provider detailing both the positive test result and your status as guardian, spouse or primary caregiver. Follow the steps noted in section B above. 

If proper documentation is not provided, you may not receive the benefits of the FFCRA Act.  Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unsubstantiated documents, unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. 

Local Testing Centers

There are a number of COVID-19 testing centers across St. Clair County and the region. Please check with East Side Health District or St. Clair County Health Department for testing sites or contact your medical provider for testing locations.

Safety Guidelines

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings.  When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, you are expected to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidelines for safety, including:

-  Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)

-  Adhere to social distancing guidelines

-  Wash hands frequently

- Cover coughs or sneezes

I want to remind you that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to other safety protocols.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.  Current CDC guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Additional Safety Guidelines

We strongly recommend that you be cautious and practice good judgement as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community and nation.  Do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and your chances of catching the virus. This includes:

- Limit your exposure to large groups of people

- Limit your personal travel and exposure to individuals from different geographic areas

- Monitor your health daily

- Stay home when you are sick

- Clean and disinfect high touch areas in your personal space and home

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

 

_____________________

August 6, 2020

Dear School District 189 Staff,

We are excited for the start of our new year focused on Excellence in Action.  Even though it will look very different from any school year before, I am confident we will deliver high quality education and services to our students.

Education, like other fields, must adapt to ever fluid and changing conditions due to the pandemic. We must find a delicate balance between ensuring the health and safety of students, staff and community and advancing the academic and social emotional development of our students. This year will require understanding, patience, creativity and flexibility from each of us.  Administration, teachers and support staff have worked hundreds of hours preparing a variety of educational scenarios and health/safety protocols for the upcoming school year.  Many of you have invested your time and energy to prepare for this school year. Yet there is still much to be done. I am confident through collaboration and teamwork, we will meet the challenges before us.

Managing Expectations

The start of the new year is quickly approaching, so I want to make sure that our team is informed about what to expect in the weeks ahead.  As I shared on July 24, 2020, we have spent time this summer building an instructional system for the successful launch of the year.  Campus principals will be moving forward with the implementation of these plans. You can expect to hear more information about professional development, daily schedules and other school-related matters directly from your supervisor or principal. Together, we will continue to prepare for remote learning.  COVID-19 conditions in the ZIP codes we serve will be the driving factor that determines when we transition from remote learning to the hybrid learning model and, eventually, the traditional school day.

Teachers will deliver their daily online instruction from classrooms, with support from technology staff, administrators, aides, SEL staff and others.  No more than one or two adults will be in a classroom at any given time.  No staff will be in a location where physical distancing guidelines are compromised.  We are keeping the health and well-being of all staff at the forefront of all we do, and all precautions will be in place to help mitigate the spread of illness.

Ensuring Health and Safety for All

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings.  When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, they are directed to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH, and ISBE guidelines for safety as well as the following School District 189 procedures:

  1. Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)
  2. Adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 feet distance from others)
  3. Wash hands frequently
  4. Take daily temperature of staff, students or visitors prior to entry into the building
  5. Self-monitor your health and report serious and/or prolonged COVID symptoms to your supervisor as appropriate
  6. Cover coughs and sneezes
  7. Use PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer stations, gloves, etc. as needed (staff may elect to use district-approved personal PPE or district-provided PPE)
  8. Attend district-provided virtual trainings on safety procedures related to COVID-19 and adhere to the training guidance at all times
  9. When possible, conduct all staff meetings by phone or virtual meetings
  10. When in-person with another individual, maintain at least 6-feet distance
  11. In-person consultation must be a last resort, very brief and with social distancing (6-feet distance and wearing masks)
  12. No group gatherings (school offices, break rooms, hallways, lounges, etc.)
  13. Staff are still expected to clock in and out with TimeClock Plus
  14. All staff are responsible for reading and adhering to all district communication (emails, robocalls, website, etc.)

Reporting Known or Perceived Exposure to COVID-19

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify your supervisor and provide medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com.
  • If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask), we encourage you to get tested for COVID-19.
  • If someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested for COVID-19, self-quarantine from work, and immediately notify your supervisor, sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com of the status.  You must submit documentation from a medical provider detailing both the test result and your status as guardian, spouse or primary caregiver.

If proper documentation is not provided, you may not receive the benefits of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  I encourage you to read the details for FFCRA, found here: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements.

Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unsubstantiated documents, unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

All staff members will be required to complete the COVID-19 Active Screening Questionnaire (provided by the East Side Health District) and receive district-issued health and safety guidelines training.  Daily monitoring and temperature checks will be conducted at each work site. 

School District 189 administration has been in frequent, ongoing communication with the East Side Health District and we will continue this partnership.  When employees report to our school district that they have tested positive, the following measures are taken:

  • Fourteen day quarantine and report back to work with a negative test result
  • Interview the employee to explore possible exposure to other employees
  • Send written, courtesy communication to all employees who were in the same facility as the person who tested positive
  • Identify persons who are at high-risk or low-risk based on guidelines from the health department
  • Follow appropriate HIPAA guidelines by not disclosing the name of a known staff member or affiliate with a known or rumored positive COVID-19 diagnosis

Please remember that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to the Governor’s guidance.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is reduced.  Current CDC guidelines can be found here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high-risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Community Safety Guidelines

We strongly recommend that you be cautious and practice good judgement as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community and nation.  Do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and your chances of catching the virus. This includes:

-           Limit your exposure to large groups of people

-           Limit your personal travel and exposure to individuals from different geographic areas

-           Monitor your health daily

-          Stay home when you are sick

-          Clean and disinfect high touch areas in your personal space and home

A complete list of our safety procedures are included in our Back to School Health Safety Procedures.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/137Y98dBJ-ToI1q_6aEiMws5zp7BSSBrA9sebiLm4npQ/edit

Schedule for Reopening of District Campuses and Facilities

When reporting back to work, all staff are expected to go directly to their office, room or other designated workspace and may sign in to TimeClock Plus on their personal work computer or at the building TimeClock Plus station.  Twelve-month employees are to report back to in-person work beginning Monday, August 10, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.  Other staff are to report back to work per your assigned in-person schedule, with all returning by 8:30 am on Wednesday, August 12.

Professional development for all staff will be conducted this year remotely.  Security guards, clerks, custodians, bus monitors, warehouse and maintenance staff will participate in professional development on August 11.  All other staff, please ensure you are fully attentive for the Teacher’s Institute on Wednesday, August 12, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.  The detailed professional development schedule will be provided to staff by Monday, August 10th.  Please allow time to get your temperature checked, enter your appropriate room and login to the computer no later than your PD start time. 

RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

Details for the School District 189 Return to Learn Plan are provided in a separate document. Please take careful time to review and familiarize yourself with the remote learning, hybrid and traditional models.

RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

DAILY STAFF WORK SCHEDULES

The daily staff schedules for each department or school staff team can be found on the link below.  Please also see your supervisor for your specific schedule and work duties.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ooH1oK0GE0t6_I4XJnDpOokNLWyFnaXePYFKBnhwofM/edit

Flexibility in Assigned Job Duties

Due to the pandemic, East St. Louis School District 189 is transforming operations and reimagining the way we educate our students.  We value all members of our team, and our goal is that all active employees continue to have a role in the operations of our District, though their job duties may change due to the delayed return to face-to-face learning.

Some employees in East St. Louis School District 189 will be expected to perform duties that may be outside their job description during remote learning and/or hybrid learning periods.  Temporary roles may be assigned based on organizational needs to allow the employee to remain actively employed, thus receiving their regular pay and benefits. These roles will help support district operations during this pandemic. Supervisors will be communicating with staff regarding their schedule and duties.

SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES

When a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) requires in-person instruction, arrangements will be made to implement the IEP.

SAT TESTING UPDATE

Please see the SAT updated information for our seniors who were not able to test last spring: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Fall-2020-ISBE-Provided-SAT-Essay.pdf

In closing, I want to thank you for your continued support and all you do to advance Excellence in Action for our East St. Louis School District 189  students.  We have strong plans, systems and protocols in place for the launch of the year.  We are primed to continue offering a high quality educational experience for our students.

Expect excellence,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

____________________

July 24, 2020

Dear All Staff,
 
The Board of Education met today and unanimously approved the Back to School Plan
 
The Back to School Plan notes that school will begin for students on Monday, August 17, 2020, with REMOTE LEARNING at least through Friday, October 16, 2020 (the first quarter). Staff are to report in-person during the first quarter and to practice appropriate social distancing and safety protocols. The Cabinet will work with Local 1220 and Local 382 to develop daily schedules that will ensure social distancing and other safety practices. It is important to have staff onsite to facilitate the opportunity for teachers, administrators and support staff to collaborate with one another. This will also ensure that teachers have more access to instructional materials as well as better curriculum and technology resources and supports. Additionally, student login issues can be resolved in a more timely manner. These measures will enhance student achievement and minimize student learning loss during the remote learning period.
 
The Back to School Plan also includes details about the HYBRID model that we plan to transition to when it is safe to do so. We look forward to resuming the TRADITIONAL school model with full in-school learning as soon as safely possible. Please know that the school district may need to transition between these 3 learning models depending on changing conditions. School district administration will continue to monitor community and staff COVID-19 cases at least on a weekly basis. This data will be used to make decisions about how to proceed beyond October 16, 2020.

Attached are 4 documents regarding Back to School information, including
  - Back to School Plan
  - Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Updated 8.17.2020
  - COVID updates
  - Back to School Visual
If you have questions, comments or concerns, please submit them to questions@estl189.com.
 
Please know, the heartfelt decision to begin the school year in remote learning was driven by the alarming, increasing COVID-19 cases in the zip codes we serve and careful consideration of the health and safety of our students, staff and community. We hope each of you will take appropriate precautions to remain safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our region. Thank you for your flexibility, understanding and commitment as we begin the school year during these unprecedented times. As we continue to focus on empowering excellence, we will provide our students with the high quality education they deserve.
 
Expect excellence,
Arthur R. Culver
 

______________________

 July 15, 2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides qualified employees with paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave specific to COVID-19.  This includes when the employee is subject to Federal, State or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19.

These benefits are only provided to staff who have been employed for at least 30 days.  You may view the full Act here to learn the limitations and allowances of the Act:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

Reporting Known or Perceived Exposure to COVID-19

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify your supervisor and provide medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to sharla.randolph@estl189.com.
  • If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask), we encourage you to get tested for COVID-19.
  • If someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested for COVID-19, self-quarantine from work, and immediately notify your supervisor and sharla.randolph@estl189.com of the status.  You must submit documentation from a medical provider detailing both the positive test result and your status as guardian, spouse or primary caregiver.

If proper documentation is not provided, you may not receive the benefits of this Act.  Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unsubstantiated documents, unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Local Testing Centers

COVID-19 testing is available for free Monday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center.  SIHF also offers COVID-19 testing at the Windsor Center in East St. Louis.

Safety Guidelines

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings.  When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, you are expected to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidelines for safety, including:

-          Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)

-          Adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 feet distance from others)

-          Wash hands frequently

-          Cover coughs or sneezes

I want to remind you that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to the Governor’s guidance.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.  Current CDC guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high-risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Additional Safety Guidelines 

We strongly recommend that you be cautious and practice good judgement as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community and nation.  Do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and your chances of catching the virus. This includes:

-          Limit your exposure to large groups of people

-          Limit your personal travel and exposure to individuals from different geographic areas

-          Monitor your health daily

-          Stay home when you are sick

-          Clean and disinfect high touch areas in your personal space and home

 

______________________

July 7, 2020

Dear School District 189 Staff,

Our school district is transitioning work environments from remote to in-person as we prepare for serving our families in the upcoming school year.  Per Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan, we are in Phase 4 guidelines (https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-phase-4) but recognize that the situation may change for the better or worse due to the uncertainties associated with COVID-19.

To date, 12-month employees are reporting for in-person work as directed by their supervisor, including the following departments: district administration and staff, warehouse staff, custodial staff, and all security personnel.  In July, we are preparing to open the FACE Center and school offices.  You will receive more information from your supervisor.

Safety Guidelines

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings. When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, you are expected to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidelines for safety, including:

-          Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)

-          Adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 foot distance from others)

-          Wash hands frequently

I want to remind you that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to the Governor’s guidance.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low. Current CDC guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Reporting to work

All district employees are required to physically report to work per their supervisor’s directive. Employee attendance is a critical factor in student success.  Employees are expected to adhere to the attendance policies.  If you are unable to report to work as required, the absence must be reported to your supervisor and appropriate leave must be taken.  Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Children at the Worksite

The presence and care of children at a district worksite creates significant safety and liability considerations for the district and is not permitted.  Child care demands the frequent attention of a parent and thus diverts attention from job performance. Staff members are expected to make the appropriate arrangements for child care prior to reporting to work. 

Social Media Etiquette

As a reminder, all school district personnel should adhere to good judgement when on social media, including your personal account(s). Be smart, respectful, and careful not to make personal comments that negatively impact the public's opinion of our school district (ESTL189 Board Policy 5:125). Your personal opinion may create additional anxiety about students’ and staff’s return to the district. 

All stakeholders will receive communication regarding return-to-school planning.  Although these are uncertain times, I know our staff is serious about the education of our students, committed to excellence in our work, and courageous enough to face any challenge.

Sincerely,

 Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent