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.