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FAQ's For AISD Staff

Frequently Asked Questions (See below)

 

General Information

The District/Campus will reduce in-person staff meetings or other opportunities for adults to congregate in close settings.

  • When those meetings are necessary and cannot be done via electronic means, everyone must follow the mask protocols in this guidance, remain at least 6 feet apart where feasible, consider the use of dividers, and consider whether increased airflow from the outdoors is possible in those settings.

Staffing decisions will be determined based on student choice of instructional delivery.  Principals, in cooperation with teachers, develop work assignments. If a teacher has safety concerns about returning to work on site, they should contact their principal. At this time, planning decisions include the possibility of requiring virtual teachers to report to an AISD facility to utilize AISD internet and instructional materials to lead virtual learning classroom instruction. Employees of the District, like employees of any organization, must continue to meet the work expectations set by their supervisors, subject to any applicable employment contract terms.

Teachers and staff will be trained specifically on the protocols outlined in this document and the practices adopted by the District/Campus.

Requirements to quarantine are determined by the health department. In addition to existing leave balances in effect for employees, Amarillo ISD will follow all provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Opens in new window) (FFCRA) which is in effect through December 31, 2020.

How will the district respond to teachers who have been quarantined and are in need of a substitute?

Historically, we have had a shortage of substitutes. While virtual instruction will lower class size, we also are doing the following:

  1. We are actively looking for additional talent to recruit substitutes for our candidates for our substitute pools (i.e. college students who are home learning virtually)
  2. We will limit school related absences (i.e. off-campus staff development, travel, etc.)
  3. We will capitalize on the economic downturn and recruit those individuals who are needing employment
  4. We are in partnership with Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University to find quality substitutes from their education departments.

The best assurance for all staff to remain safe is to ensure you:

  • Wear a mask at all times while at school
  • Practice hygiene. Wash hands regularly, keep hands away from eyes and mouth, use hand sanitizer regularly.
  • Make sure to adhere to the close contact rule

Close Contact is defined as: If either of the following occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time that the individual was infectious. Individuals are presumed infectious at least two days before symptom onset or asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, two days before the confirming lab test.

  • Being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask; or
  • Being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask).

You may contact your immediate supervisor with concerns or anxiety about returning to work.

AISD provides an Employee Assistance Program, located here: http://www.niseap.com/ (Opens in new window) 

Immediately contact your school counselor to give them the opportunity to counsel students who are feeling anxious.

Encourage Middle School or High School students and parents to utilize DialCare services (opens in new window). Please call your campus for information.

We would encourage all employees to secure their own PPE; especially a face mask. The District will have disposal masks available, however, finding a mask that fits your facial dimensions will allow for comfort, glasses fogging, and ability for prolonged use.

TEA is sending enough PPE for the District to begin the school year. All staff should wear a mask at all times, whether it is provided by the District or is a personal item. Hand sanitizer is also being provided by TEA, however any personal hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is appropriate. Parents are being asked to provide PPE for their child(ren).

As a District, we will work to meet the needs of our staff. Ultimately, our students will drive teacher assignments whether in-person or virtually.

As we get closer to opening, AISD will work through each of these situations as best we can.

As a rule, virtual teachers will deliver instruction from their home campus. We want teachers to have available all instructional resources, device/broadband access, and professional support. However, if a teacher has ADA or other COVID-19 related requests for remote work, the District will consider each request on an individual basis.

As it stands right now based on student choice of enrollment type, there may be some instances where teachers may do virtual instruction, but the vast majority of those may be from their room on campus (without students). In rare cases, a teacher might be allowed to work from home.

We are working tirelessly to find ways for everyone to return to work safely.

No, as long as good faith efforts to ensure all protocols and procedures are followed, staff will not be liable.

As part of our reopening plan, in conjunction with AISD expectations, each campus will develop specific campus protocols to ensure safety. The protocols will revolve around social distancing, transitions, hygiene expectations, morning/afternoon routines for entering/exiting the building, recess, discipline for failing to adhere to any of the established District/campus regulations, etc.

Each level [Elementary, Middle, and High] will have slightly differing needs; however, our goal is for teachers to have appropriate time to plan and execute in either instructional model. For teachers who instruct in both in-person and virtual settings, they will be given times during the workday to deliver the instruction.

As registration and enrollment provide a clearer picture, we will have a better understanding of teaching assignments. Campuses are staffing for both in-person and virtual instruction in a manner that is manageable for teachers and that also supports continued student learning. When possible, teachers will be responsible for one learning method.

Each day, the custodial staff will spend extra time sanitizing and deep cleaning each classroom. It is good practice for each staff member to sanitize high touch surfaces several times throughout the day.

The District will be using a preventive, antimicrobial misting system at all facilities and on our buses to thoroughly and widely disinfect. The District has also contracted with an industry leading disinfection and cleaning service to disinfect our high school locker rooms, weight rooms, and equipment cages.

The District has instituted more frequent cleaning practices, including additional cleaning by custodial staff:

  1. The District will provide the opportunity for children to clean their own spaces before and after they are used, in ways that are safe and developmentally appropriate
  2. The District has arranged additional cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces that are touched commonly throughout the day. This would include objects such as door handles, common tables/desks, shared supplies such as art supplies, and high touch devices such as shared laptops or tablets.
  3. Schools should arrange for cleaning of commonly touched surfaces in classrooms between different class groups, if the same room will be used by multiple class groups
  4. The District uses CDC guidance on cleaning campuses to prevent COVID-19 spread
  5. The District takes precautions to ensure products are stored safely, including storing harmful products where children cannot access them, and ensuring that harmful cleaning products are not used near children

Historically, we have had a shortage of substitutes. While virtual instruction will lower class size, we also are doing the following:

  1. We are actively looking for additional talent to recruit substitutes for our candidates for our substitute pools (i.e. college students who are home learning virtually)
  2. We will limit school related absences (i.e. off-campus staff development, travel, etc.)
  3. We will capitalize on the economic downturn and recruit those individuals who are needing employment
  4. We are in partnership with Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University to find quality substitutes from their education departments

EPSL/EFML information is available in the Forms section of the Staff Forms and Resources page.

  1. Use of up to 80 hours of EPSL for staff absences that meet certain criteria
  2. Use of up to 30 additional days of AISD COVID-19 LEAVE

EFML information is available in the Forms section of the Staff Forms and Resources page.

  1. Use of up to 80 hours of EPSL at 2/3 pay
  2. Use of up to 10 weeks of EFML at 2/3 pay
  3. Use of all other accrued leave
  4. After exhaustion of EPSL, EFML, and all accrued leave, absences will be non-paid.

Typical school wear is appropriate. Out of an abundance of caution, wearing clothing that may be washed at the end of the day is encouraged. Please remember that appropriate dress is always required.

Employees of school districts, like employees of any organization, must continue to meet the work expectations of their employers subject to any applicable employment contract terms or legal requirements. However, schools will work with all staff to ensure safety of students, teachers, and staff. This could include allowing staff who may fulfill their work duties remotely to do so. It could include modification of schedules to ensure, where feasible, staff members interact with smaller and/or more consistent cohorts of individuals to mitigate risk. In addition, staff who are in high risk categories may be entitled to paid leave under the FFCRA in addition to already accrued leave.

While there is no one answer for every scenario, each case will be evaluated on the individual details. Here are some FAQs and their answers.

1) If an employee is exposed to a co-worker or a student who tests positive for COVID-19, will workers’ compensation (WC) pay for lost wages during the 14-day quarantine period?

A work-related injury requires damage or harm to the physical structure of the body. An exposure to a virus or illness is not a compensable injury and therefore WC insurance will not cover lost wages for the 14-day quarantine period.

2) If an employee is exposed to a co-worker or a student who tests positive for COVID-19, and then has a positive test within the normal incubation period, will WC pay for lost wages and medical expenses?

A COVID-19 claim would be treated like any other occupational disease claim, which means there would be a full investigation to determine compensability. The infected employee must be able to show that he or she contracted the virus at work, as opposed to at home or in the community at large. This becomes more difficult as the virus becomes more widespread. If the claim is found to be compensable, then the employee would be entitled to indemnity and medical benefits.

3) If an employee wants a WC claim filed for COVID-19, should we file it? What if it’s an exposure-only claim?

If the employee asserts that he or she contracted COVID-19 at work, please file the claim with CAS as soon as possible and no later than eight days after the employee reports it. If the evidence supports work-relatedness, then the employee would be eligible for WC benefits in the same manner as any other work-related injury.