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COVID-19 – Update April 3, 2020

This week has seen several twists and turns and through the turbulence, we are very proud of how Lane ESD is responding.  In this first week back from an unusual Spring Break, work has indeed been different.  For many, it means a new work environment that perhaps includes a living room, kitchen table and more casual attire.  For some, even though you are working in the same office space, it is far quieter and very sparsely populated.  You may even be longing for the noise that the roof project brought before its completion.  Still for others, you have learned to “report” to work in a new way—by reading emails, checking the website and awaiting phone calls.  From all that has been seen and heard, attitudes remain positive and that is commendable and necessary as we continue to navigate this unusual school closure.  

In Oregon’s Extended School Closure Guidance there is strong emphasis on three C’s—Care, Connection and Continuity of Learning.  These are in priority order.  I urge you to now focus on the first C—Care.  Start with Care for yourself, then Care for your loved ones, friends and each other.  Keeping that in focus will allow us to make better Connections and eventually get to the Continuity of Learning.  Wishing you all a good weekend filled with Care!

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.