COVID 19 Update – March 27, 2020

As Spring Break concludes, this continues to be a time of rapid change requiring us all to be flexible. As questions come up, please email these to the hr@lesd.k12.or.us address. Questions from employees help us refine our communication and we do appreciate them. 

REPORTING TO WORK
An email was sent to main campus staff on Wednesday, March 25th; employees assigned to the main campus should refer to this email for direction.

Special Education licensed staff (teachers, consultants, School Psychologists, SLPs, DHH/VI teachers, and sign language interpreters) will not report to work on Monday.  Special Education supervisors emailed these employees with information on next steps and employees should be available to monitor emails or for phone contacts.  Please refer to these communications for information about next week.

Special Education Instructional Assistants will not report to work on Monday or Tuesday.   Instructional Assistants should continue to monitor email communications for instructions. Administrators will be planning with teachers and districts regarding supplemental learning supports and child care, and will make assignments as these plans are solidified.  

Note: Instructional Assistants who have forgotten their email password can submit a technology ticket to request a password reset or call Mary Griswold at 541-461-8251.  Instructional Assistants who do not have access to email at home should call their supervisor:
Renee Beard               541-463-8540

Justin Radabaugh        541-463-8502

Annie Whiddon          541-461-8377

HANDLING COVID-19 RELATED CONCERNS ABOUT REPORTING TO Work (whether in person or remotely)
For employees who are required to report to work (in person, remotely or a combination of the two), the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) has stated that employees may use OFLA leave during the current closure to care for their children. The employee can then use sick leave or other paid leaves for this time off.  Paperwork related to OFLA/FMLA leave is available on the Lane ESD website. The newly passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act also provides support for individuals needing to stay home to care for children who are not in school due to COVID 19 related closure.

Employees who have a condition that makes them at greater risk from COVID-19 (and do not qualify for state or federal leaves), and are not experiencing symptoms are expected to report to work, if required.  Supervisors will work with employees in this situation on accommodations such as flexible work schedule or working remotely, if feasible for the assignment.  

Employees who have COVID-19 related concerns about reporting to work (whether in person or remotely) should contact their supervisor or Human Resources.

KEY POINTS FROM PREVIOUS COMMUNICATIONS
All ESD employees (classified, licensed, professional, and administrative) are being paid during the period of time schools are closed due the Governor’s Executive Order (EO).  The EO applies to schools and ESDs.

ESD employees should not file unemployment claims during this period time since wages are being received.

Leaves will not be charged for any days that an employee is not required to report to work during the closure period specified in the Governor’s EO.

Classified employees will only need to submit time sheets for dates they are required to work.  For dates that classified employees are not required to report, wages are still being paid based on assigned work calendar.

Classified employees who are required to work (remotely or in person) will submit time sheets and use leaves as they normally do.

COVID 19 Update – March 26, 2020

We hope this correspondence finds all of you well, rested and ready to continue your important work in the education field.  The Governor has deemed us essential during this COVID-19 pandemic and we are hoping you are taking some pride in that. 

Taking time to stop and reflect, you should realize that you have always been essential, even though others have not necessarily acknowledged this.  Those of you who work directly with students, though, have experienced those special rewards that can only come directly from those you serve–our kids.  We implore you at this difficult time to remember that while you have a job in education very few, if any, got into this business just because it was a “job.”  More likely it was a calling to serve others. Furthermore, you do this to have a positive impact on those you serve, not for the recognition. However, wanted or not, you now have some recognition.

The state is ensuring that all school district and ESD employees are paid their salaries during the school closure period.  You may be getting some recognition of this from neighbors and community members that is not all positive.  Many during this crisis are barely holding onto jobs or are already out of work.  We are fortunate to have employment and to be called by the Governor to do our part for our students, families, districts and community.

Lane ESD team members who do not work directly in schools have continued to work during the closure.  We are very grateful for our custodians who are keeping our work spaces clean and sanitized.  Our Business Department is still processing bills and payroll, our School Improvement staff is busy finding ways to support district ventures into supplemental learning, our Special Education administration is planning for the complicated task of serving our students who experience disabilities in new, unique ways since they are unable to interact with them in person and our Technology Department is extremely busy trying to support all the virtual communication that is already happening and that will happen to an even greater degree soon.

In these areas we have already seen how work is now looking different than normal.  Most have transitioned to working remotely from home or in some combination of home and regular work space.  In component districts, many of our peers have been busy feeding kids and setting up childcare rooms for children of healthcare providers and emergency responders.  For those of you who have not been working since the school closure began, we are asking you to “report” to work next week.  For the specifics about date, time and nature of work, your supervisor will be contacting you.

We fully trust that our Lane ESD team will want to contribute in an appropriate manner.  Please note that due to individual personal health related situations, you may not see everyone doing the same work.  Some will be contributing behind the scenes and some may have to be on the sidelines lending whatever support they can.   Please be supportive, encouraging, and sensitive to your teammates.  We will get through this by staying together and by doing what you always do—making positive contributions to our students, staff, schools and communities. 

Rest up so you can fulfill the call to do your “essential” best.  Take care of yourselves and each other.

COVID 19 Update -March 25, 2020

Good Afternoon,

It has been another very busy day checking in with Lane County districts.  At this time we have no new information to report.  We have changed our plan for communications and will be emailing staff and posting a message tomorrow, March 27, 2020.

Stay well!

COVID 19 Update -March 24, 2020

A small number of ESD employees have submitted unemployment claims.  ESD and school district employees are being paid during the closure period (whether currently being required to report to work or not) as outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order. The Employment Division is being strained by the number of unemployment claims being filed and we ask that employees not add to the backlog by filing a claim during this time.

Today, additional steps were taken to facilitate remote or tele-work from home for employees on the main campus.  Employees whose work assignment is not conducive to work at home will still be able to access the main campus, however, are expected to complete as much work as is practical using their remote access. Supervisors will have routine phone or remote meeting check-ins with individuals and teams.  

Districts in the metro area have opened some classrooms for the provision of child care for children of emergency workers, first responders and health care providers.  Additional sites will continue to open during the week. Rural districts are still developing options for child care.  The ESD continues to confer with districts about how our staff can assist in the provision of child care.

Finally, we know that social distancing and being out of normal routines can be challenging.  We encourage staff to practice self-care strategies such as:

  1. Limit worry by limiting media exposure to a few trusted sources.
  2. Accept that it’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during this time.
  3. If you feel overwhelmed, seek support from a health professional.
  4. Keep your body as healthy as possible by eating well,exercising and getting enough sleep.
  5. Spend time outdoors, while still maintaining social distancing.
  6. Keep to a daily routine, as much as possible.
  7. Spend quality time with children or other members of your household.
  8. Stay connected to family and friends via voice and video communication options.
  9. Offer assistance friends and neighbors who may be more vulnerable (for example, those with no access to the internet or who cannot easily use the internet to shop online).

Employees can email questions to the hr@lesd.k12.or.us address.

Covid 19 Update March 23, 2020

Most ESD staff are not working due to Spring Break.  This is not the Spring Break that any of us anticipated and it continues to be a time of rapid change.  Today Governor Brown issued another Executive Order.  Below is the latest information we have in Q &A format.

Again, thank you for your patience and to those of you who have emailed questions to the hr@lesd.k12.or.us address.

What does today’s updated Executive Order mean for Lane ESD? The section of the Executive Order 20-01 on workplace restrictions and government buildings are applicable to Lane ESD.  Public schools and ESDs are considered government buildings. Lane ESD began practicing the restrictions outlined in the Executive Order last week.  The primary change for Lane ESD is that we will be increasing remote work options and expectations for employees who are required to report to work.   Supervisors will be conferring with employees in their work areas about specific plans related to their department/assignment.  For jobs where working remotely is not possible, recent work place practice changes will continue.

If I am an hourly employee, but currently not required to report to work, do I need to submit a time sheet to get paid? Employees who are not required to report to work will not need to submit time sheets.  Employees who are required to work will submit time sheets and use leaves as they normally do.        

What are Lane ESD’s plans for providing learning supports and supplemental services to students and families during the closure period? This varies among the 16 districts in Lane County.  Some districts are providing online supplemental supports while others are providing “paper and pencil” packets.  Lane ESD is supporting professional development for school districts in the use of online platforms such as googleclassroom.

Lane ESDs Special Education administrators have been conferring with districts regarding each district’s method for providing supplemental learning supports so we can support students enrolled in ESD programs in a similar manner.   Districts have requested that we take the lead on supplemental supports for high school and transition age students in the Life Skills Program. 

Special Education Administrators will be meeting with classroom teachers and other licensed staff remotely on March 30th and/or March 31st.

Will districts be bringing small groups of students in to provide learning supports if the combined number of students and staff is less than 10? ODE has indicated that there are to be no direct face-to-face services for students. Lane ESD is working with Lane County districts to determine their plans for learning supports and supplemental services to students and families. Districts have not finalized plans, however, are interested in Lane ESD supports as part of their supports to students and families. 

Districts are waiting for guidance from ODE on standards for supplemental services.

How will Lane ESD be responding to the Governor’s goal of providing child care for first responders, emergency workers, or healthcare providers? Lane ESD is supporting districts, Lane County, and the Early Learning Division by serving as a liaison.   It has not been determined if Lane ESD staff will be involved directly in providing child care options for first responders, emergency workers, or healthcare providers at district sites.

COVID-19 Update – March 20, 2020

First we want to thank staff on the main campus who continue to support ESD operations and services to districts during this time of rapid and often confusing change.  We are grateful for the positive focus on our mission to serve districts.   

Employees on year-round calendars will be working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Spring Break and daily communication updates (email and posts to the staff page of the ESD website) will continue during this time. The ESD will be closed on Thursday and Friday and there will be no communication updates on these days.  

Should there be a priority message Lane ESD will use its phone notification system, in addition to email.     

Below is additional information in Q & A format.  

Will ESD staff currently not working due to the Governor’s Executive Order need to report on Monday, March 30th?  Staff who are not currently working due to the Governor’s Executive Order will not be expected to report on Monday, March 30th.   Instead, administrative staff will be making plans for remote meetings with licensed/professional staff.  

Main Campus staff will continue working as they have since March 16th.  

Can I take leave if I need to stay home to be with my children while schools are closed under the Governor’s Executive Order? For employees who are required to report to work (in person, remotely or a combination of the two), the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) has stated that employees may use OFLA leave during the current closure to care for their children. The employee can then use sick leave or other paid leaves for this time off.  Paperwork related to OFLA/FMLA leave is available on the Lane ESD website.   

What do I do if I have planned OFLA/FMLA during the time of the Governor’s Executive Order? For employees who are required to report to work  (in person, remotely or a combination of the two) there is no change in using OFLA/FMLA, except that once paid leaves are exhausted employees will still be paid as outlined in in Governor Brown’s Executive Order (EO).  For employees who are not currently being required to report to work and who would otherwise be on OFLA/FMLA during the period of school closure, this time will not be counted towards OFLA/FMLA leave and no paid leaves will be deducted.     

Employees who are required to report to work (in person, remotely or a combination of the two) are expected to submit leave requests as they normally would to take time off for appointments, sick leave, vacation, and such.    

Am I eligible for OFLA/FMLA if I have a condition that makes me more at risk from COVID-19, but I am not experiencing symptoms?  Probably not. OFLA/FMLA leave is typically available when an employee has a “serious health condition” as defined in the law. Unless the condition itself qualifies as a “serious health condition,” an employee would likely not qualify to take OFLA/FMLA leave. Each situation is unique and we encourage employees to discuss their situation with Human Resources.  

Though the condition may not qualify for OFLA/FMLA, reasonable accommodation under the ADA or other laws may be appropriate.  Such accommodations could be adjustments such as flexible work schedule or working remotely, if feasible for the assignment.  

COVID-19 Update – March 19, 2020

We want to thank everyone for their attention and patience during this confusing and stressful time.  We encourage everyone to practice self-care and to provide and/or reach out for support. Today’s message is in the form of a Q & A.  

Does the governor’s executive order include ESDs? Governor Brown’s Executive Order applies to ESDs as well as school districts.  ESDs are considered a vital part of Oregon’s education system.  

During the school closure am I eligible for unemployment? Per the Governor’s Executive Orders, school and ESD employees will be paid during the school closure and therefore will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.   More details are available on the Oregon Employment Division website.  

What are Lane ESD’s plans for providing learning supports and supplemental services to students and families during the closure period? Lane ESD is working with Lane County districts to determine their plans for learning supports and supplemental services to students and families. Districts have not yet finalized plans.  However, they are interested in Lane ESD supports as part of their supports to students and families.   

Are school staff still expected to report back to work on March 30th? No decision has been made yet about the date for school-based employees to return to work. However, employees should be available on March 30th, in case there is a decision to report back to work (on site or remotely).  We will communicate this decision as soon as possible.

We continue to have planning calls with local districts, ESDs and ODE.

COVID-19 Update – March 18, 2020

Governor Brown has issued further direction related to schools and has extended the school closure through April 28.  The Governor’s Press Release can be found here, including a link to the most recent Executive Order.

The direction provided in the press release includes the following:

  • Each district will pay all their regular employees during the closure.
  • Districts are to provide learning supports and supplemental services to students and families during the closure period, including meals and child care. This includes the delivery of food assistance and offering child care for essential health care professionals and first responders.
  • School districts may call on public school educators and employees to deliver limited learning and support services.

Lane ESD is working with local districts and ODE to determine methods for implementing the expectations set forth by the Governor.  It is important to note the overall health and safety provision within the Executive Order stipulates that nothing is to happen that is inconsistent with public health guidance.

Thanks again for your patience, we are still working on many details.  

Self-Care and COVID-19

The anxiety a pandemic such as COVID 19 generates is inevitable. At the end of the day, we all need to learn to live with a degree of risk we can’t avoid.

Practical Strategies to Keep Anxiety in Check

The World Health Organization has developed some practical tips for dealing the stress of COVID 19 outbreak. Here are a few of them:

Accept that it’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during an outbreak.

Find ways to talk about how you feel with others, especially if you are in quarantine.

Remember to keep an eye out for your children during this time, and for loved ones who experience mental illness. They may need help dealing with this added anxiety.

If you feel overwhelmed, seek support from a health professional.

Don’t use smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions. Keep your body as healthy as possible by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.

Limit worry by limiting media exposure to a few trusted sources.

Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to get through difficult times.

Science-Based Strategies to Cope With Coronavirus Anxiety Resources from Reliant Behavioral Health (EAP)

Staying Connected

Humans are social beings and it can be challenging to maintain a feeling of connection with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.  Here are some tips to remain connected when you’re practicing social distancing:

  • Think about how you can interact with others without putting your health (or theirs) at risk. Can you speak to your neighbors from over a fence or across balconies? We’ve seen this in Italy.
  • If you have access to it, use technology to stay in touch. If you have a smartphone, use the video capabilities (seeing someone’s facial expressions can help increase connection).
  • Check in with your friends, family, and neighbors regularly. Wherever you can, assist people in your life who may be more vulnerable (for example, those with no access to the internet or who cannot easily use the internet to shop online).
  • Spend the time connecting with the people you are living with. If you are in a lock-down situation, use this time to improve your existing relationships.
  • Manage your stress levels. Exercise, meditate, and keep to a daily routine as much as you can.
  • It’s not just family and friends who require support, but others in your community. Showing kindness to others not only helps them but can also increase your sense of purpose and value, improving your own well-being.

COVID-19 Update March 17, 2020

Good Afternoon,

Information continues to change quickly related to the COVID-19 response in Oregon. We do not know if Governor Brown’s 4 week ban (effective 3/17) on gatherings of 25 or more and limiting restaurants and bars to take out and delivery only, will impact the anticipated April 1st resumption of school. 

We hope to know more after an ODE conference call for schools scheduled for tomorrow. In the meantime, Lane ESD main campus is implementing additional environmental and behavioral prevention strategies.

Thanks again for your patience and perseverance during this confusing time.