LHISD RETURN TO WORK PROCEDURESCommunity health data continues to change in our Liberty Hill ISD community, and we are continuously monitoring this information and adjusting our plans accordingly. We are sharing these preliminary plans with the understanding that as we get closer to August 20, 2020, plans could change based on conditions.
Liberty Hill Independent school district will be offering in-building instruction and online instruction when school begins for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents will be surveyed to determine how many students will be in each mode of instruction. From the survey results, administrators will create a schedule for instruction.
Staff members will also be surveyed to learn which instruction method they would prefer to teach. Staff members should consider the information below when deciding the method of instruction that they would prefer to conduct.
❑ Expected social-distancing requirements by governing authorities may impose parameters beyond the school district’s local control.
❑ Based on these directives, staff (on their own behalf) will be asked to select the option of participating in face-to-face instruction or online instruction.
❑ Should individual options or expectations exceed the school district’s ability to accommodate preferences, a process will be applied to determine how options may be honored, including various considerations and criteria.
INFORMATION FOR STAFF TO CONSIDER PRIOR TO REQUESTING AN INSTRUCTION METHOD
❑ Online staff will need to “check-in” with students and find ways to build relationships online and to focus on social-emotional learning and student wellness.
❑ Online learning times will follow the same schedule as the in-building times.
❑ Both online and in-building students will have frequent breaks throughout the day.
❑ Both in-building and online classrooms will use large- and small-group instruction for remediation and enrichment activities.
❑ Both in-building and online students will demonstrate mastery of concepts using traditional methods as well as assessments emphasizing application over memorization.
❑ Both online and in-building students will have the same expectations and experiences regarding the curriculum.
❑ Online students who take a class for which there is no online teacher may need to virtually attend the in-building classroom for instruction.
❑ Similarly, students who come into the building for learning may need to virtually attend an online classroom for instruction if the teacher is only available online. In situations such as this, an area will be available in the building for students to both social-distance and to access their class online.
❑ Online staff and the in-building staff will need to work closely in professional learning communities to ensure consistency of curriculum, instruction and quality in assessments.
❑ Online staff will be required to report to campus or a central location.STAFF CONSIDERATIONS AND CRITERIA
Conversely, staff circumstances and classifications are also recommended as considerations for determining which employees can choose to continue with online learning if staff are needed to support those who return to an in-building environment. The list below suggests these factors when staff may be permitted to continue with online learning.
1. Employees who have COVID, or family members have COVID, or are quarantining due to possible exposure to COVID.
2. Employees who are in high-risk categories (age, immunocompromised, etc.) and would not want to return to in-building work.
3. Employees who cannot return to in-building work or are constrained to do so without appropriate childcare.
4. Employees who are not high risk, no school-age children, but do not feel safe in an in-building work environment.
Those staff who choose to return to work in an in-building environment are not within the above categories; instead, they are:
5. Employees who are willing and able to work in-building.
6. Employees who may not have access to reliable internet.
7. Employees whose jobs cannot be performed online.
8. Employees who may need to work in-building to accommodate attending students.THE PROCESS FOR COLLECTING RESPONSES AND PRIORITIZING STUDENTS AND STAFF
❑ A staff survey will be administered. Individuals will be asked to select either online or face-to-face instruction according to their preference, need and responsibilities, to the extent possible.
❑ Staff who do not respond will be placed where the greatest need exists.
❑ An application will be required for online instructors.
❑ The application will be accompanied by information detailing the work and learning environment as well as staff responsibilities for both online and face-to-face options.
❑ Placement of the staff, according to the options process, will be determined with the above criteria applied to prioritize staff, according to the time-and-date stamp and to the extent possible.
❑ If more individuals prefer to return to face-to-face instruction than will be allowed by directives from governmental authorities, a wait list will be created based on the time and date the online options form was submitted.
❑ The selection application may indicate general disclaimers regarding each option.
❑ Individuals will be asked to commit to an option by a specified date, understanding any change in guidance or requirements from governmental authorities at a later date could require the school district to re-administer or redistribute such assignments.
❑ In addition to directives from governmental authorities (e.g., social-distancing requirements), the options process will help the school district determine its ability to accommodate the individual’s option to return to school to the extent possible. These include asking the individual to respond according to a scale (or range) of applicability:
❑ Participation in clearly identified activities that cannot be done online
❑ Need for transportation
❑ If the person’s role or that of a family member is considered “essential” worker according to the HEROES Act.AFTER OPTIONS ARE DETERMINED
❑ Final determination of placement will be made by campus and district administrators.
❑ Every effort will be made to accommodate individual preferences to the extent possible.
❑ Students and some staff, especially those students in grades 6-12 - may have unique needs or requirements to access a specific in-building class or activity should they choose or be deferred to online learning. If so, these requests or needs will be considered on an individual basis. This may include employees who cannot return to in-building work or are constrained to do so without appropriate childcare.
❑ Student and staff learning experiences that cannot be done online, such as certain Career and Technical Education (CTE) learning experiences for middle and high school students (based on an administrative decision) may also be considered.
❑ If an individual chooses face-to-face instruction, and should the individual later become ill or test positive for COVID-19 or otherwise need to self-isolate and quarantine, the individual as well as any other individuals with whom he or she came in contact may be assigned to online instruction in accordance with recognized healthcare and precautionary guidelines.
❑ Teachers selected for online instruction will be required to report to their campus unless they have a recommendation from a physician.
While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of furthering the spread of COVID-19, the current science suggests there are many steps schools can take to reduce the risks to students, teachers, staff, and their families significantly. Four sets of practices that minimize the likelihood of viral spread:
1. Provide Notice- Requirements for parental and public notices
● Develop and post plan to mitigate COVID-19 spread in their schools
● Must provide parents notice of their public education enrollment and attendance rights during COVID-19 pandemic using document from TEA
● Additional information regarding attendance options is in this document
2. Prevent- Required practices to keep the virus from entering the school
● Teachers and staff must self-screen prior to coming to campus each day
● Parents shouldn’t send students to school if they demonstrate symptoms; schools have option of screening children
● Excluding drop-off, visitors must go through screening questions
● Infected or symptomatic individuals must meet certain criteria before returning to campus
3. Respond- Required practices to respond to a lab-confirmed case in the school
● Public health, families, and staff of district must be notified if there is a lab-confirmed case
● Schools must close off areas heavily used by infected individual for cleaning
4. Mitigate- Recommended and required practices to reduce likely spread within the school
● Teach students about good hygiene practices
● Campuses should institute more frequent cleaning
● Schools are required to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order regarding masks
● Additional considerations are listed for transportation, assemblies, etc.
All staff must self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto campus each day. The self-screening should include staff taking their own temperature. Staff must report to their immediate supervisor if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms or are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below.
In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following questions:
Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them?
● Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
● Loss of taste or smell
● Difficulty breathing
● Shortness of breath
● Sore throat
● Shaking or exaggerated shivering
● Significant muscle pain or ache
Additionally, they must report to their immediate supervisor if they have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, as defined below, and, if so, must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed.
Close contact is defined as:
a. being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield); or
b. being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask or face shield;
if either occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious.
Any individuals who themselves either: (a) are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19; or (b) experience the symptoms of COVID-19 (listed below) must stay at home throughout the infection period, and cannot return to campus until the school district screens the individual to determine any of the below conditions for campus re-entry have been met:
● In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met:
1. at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);
2. the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and
3. at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
● In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and who is not evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, such individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to the campus until the individual has completed the same three-step set of criteria listed above.
● If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to school before completing the above stay at home period, the individual must either (a) obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis or (b) receive two separate confirmations at least 24 hours apart that they are free of COVID via acute infection tests at an approved COVID-19 testing location found at https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/.
LHISD has an obligation to maintain a safe environment and has the right to exclude an employee from work because of exposure (whether it occurred on-duty or off-duty), being symptomatic, or testing positive. If the job responsibilities can be performed online, assigning leave is not necessary. If the individual is not able to perform job duties online, HR will need to determine if the employee is eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL).
An employee is eligible for EPSL if required to self-quarantine by a federal, state, or local order; when advised by a healthcare provider; or when experiencing symptoms and seeking an medical diagnosis. The district telling an employee to stay away from the worksite is not a local order. To access EPSL, the employee must provide documentation of a health care provider’s advice to self-quarantine. An exposed employee without symptoms may choose not to consult with their doctor or test for COVID-19. EPSL would not apply but accrued paid leave may be applied according to the district leave policy. See DEC (local)
EPSL is limited to a total of two weeks (10 days) April 1 -December 31, 2020.
● 10 days (80 hrs) at regular pay up to $511/day for a total of no more than $5,111 if employee;
- Is subject to quarantine order related to COVID-19
- Has been advised to self-quarantine by health care provider related to COVID-19
- Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
● 10 days (80 hrs) ⅔ of regular pay up to $200/day for a total of no more than $2,000 when an employee is:
- Caring for individual advised to quarantine or isolate
- Caring for the child if school or place of care (child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19
An employee subject to multiple incidents requiring self-quarantine is limited to 10 days for the first exposure. After the first quarantine, the employee would be required to access accrued leave or be placed on unpaid leave.
Employees employed for more than 30 days are eligible for 12 weeks of leave if they are unable to work online and they are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
The first 2 weeks of leave are unpaid while the remaining 10 weeks are paid at ⅔ of the regular rate up to a maximum of $200/day and $10,000 in aggregate (over a 12-week period).
Employees may use accrued paid leave or EPSL for the first 10 days.
Staff requesting accommodations, applying for FFCRA, or leave due to COVID-19 should contact the Human Resources department. Forms will be provided.
Documentation for leave is required.