School districts limit staffing

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Most teachers not reporting during COVID-19 wellness break

Local school districts on wellness break through April 3 do not have students in the buildings, and they are limiting the number of staff on-site, as well.

Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent, said food service staff is coming in on a rotational schedule, and administrators and office secretaries are also reporting.

“Central office is open,” he said. “Bus drives and teachers are not reporting. They may come in and work in their rooms, and they are coordinating that with their building principals.”

Asbill said the district is now starting to focus on how to return to normal operations and finish the year best serving the community and students’ needs.

“We do not know how that will look yet,” he said. Extending the school year into June is a conversation we need to have. But also, since this is a state and federal emergency, there may be some forgiveness there, and whatever that looks like, we will evaluate with our neighboring districts the same product.”

While many are not reporting, pay is not being affected, Asbill said.

“It’s important to note that every school employee’s work terms are calculated to give them 12 checks per year,” he said. “So, the number of hours an hourly employee works is pre-calculated, and we can monitor that and work with each employee group to make sure they work the hours they are being paid for [even though they may not be here right now].

“Statewide and nationally, it’s important to understand the economic impact, and we hope to respond in a way that will provide stability.”

Southwest

All non-certified, office staff, administrators and directors are reporting at the Southwest school district, but that will soon change.

Tosha Tilford, Southwest superintendent, said no teachers are reporting, and there was a schedule through Thursday for those who were reporting, and a new schedule went out on Friday calling for more scaled back rotations of staff.

“No one is on campus unless they are assigned to be,” Tilford said. “We also have extensive cleaning ongoing.

“No pay is being affected, and we are doing our best to make sure that it is not.”

Exeter

Ernest Raney, Exeter superintendent, said key staff are reporting at the district, and custodial staff is spraying and sanitizing the building. Once that is completed, he said no one will be allowed in the building other than food service employees, the bookkeeper and administration.

“We are also paying all staff as if they were here,” he said.

Purdy

At Purdy, maintenance and custodial staff are on hand, as well as food service, office staff and administration.

“Teachers are not coming in and have been asked to stay home during the break,” said Mindi Gates, Purdy superintendent. “We do have our AmeriCorp reading group reporting, but they are helping with meals as part of their volunteer requirements.”

Gates said she plans to start asking employees to come back in to prepare for students’ return. She said Purdy is also continuing to pay employees as if they are there.

Wheaton

Wheaton’s custodial staff is reporting and sanitizing buildings. Its food service is contracted through Opaa!, which has two employees making meals for the grab-and-go service.

“Administration is on a rotating schedule to assist with meals, and we have school employee volunteers assisting with meals,” said Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent. “Our secretarial staff is here on a rotational basis, and as superintendent, I am here most ofd the time.”

Massey said teachers are not restricted from coming into the buildings, but the district has put a focus on virtual learning opportunities from home.

Hourly staff, he said, are being paid as normal.

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