Good morning VTA members.
I’m sure you’ve been following the messages from the District concerning the Coronavirus and infections in our area. The District is in contact with the Solano County Public health dept. and the Center for Disease Control and any school closures will be ordered by those agencies. The District met with us on Friday to talk about the possibility of school closures and we had some questions about how it would affect our members. Here are some answers. This is a situation that is changing and the info here applies to this year but it might change in future years based on what we learn this time and new conditions.
1. If a school or the District closes because of the outbreak, you will continue to get paid as normal.
2. For this year if we close, we won’t have to make up the days in the summer as long as the state grants us a waiver (like they did when we closed during the fires). The District is confident the state will grant the waiver.
3. A closure won’t affect STRS. STRS will get paid as normal and anyone retiring this year won’t have any changes because of a closure. That may change in future years.
4. If we close you may offer online learning for your classes if you would like to but you aren’t required to. If you do, you can’t penalize students who don’t do it because our District can’t provide access to the internet and a computer for all students. The District is working on this so that in the future we might be able to have procedures in place so that we can continue with some on-line learning.
5. If we don’t close but you start to feel sick, please call in sick. If you run out of sick leave but you are starting to show symptoms, you can contact the Personnel Dept. and get more sick days out of the Sick Leave Bank. Don’t come to work if you are sick. Educators are a devoted group and we often work anyways when we are sick. Now isn’t the time for that.
6. There may be more students than usual asking for ISP’s and we agreed that the 10-day notice for ISP’s could be temporarily suspended. (We also know that this wasn’t being followed at all sites and we are working with the District to reduce the burden on teachers producing work for ISP’s.) Your principal was sent an email regarding how to mitigate workload around ISP’s and should be providing you some time.
7. If we are ordered to close schools, please don’t have meetings with students or clubs or teams. The point of closing is to reduce person-to-person contact in large groups and limit the spread of the disease.
It is possible that some individual schools might close for a period of days to disinfect. It is also possible that the entire district will close. Right now we don’t know if either of these will happen, but the District is in constant contact with health agencies that are monitoring the situation.
It is likely that in the future we will have to change our calendar to include “smoke days” just like schools in snow areas have to build in “snow days.” The state is requiring districts to work with local unions to do this. But for right now the state is letting us go without making these days up.
Hopefully this is an unusual situation and we won’t be repeating it any time soon. The District has been working hard the last few days to monitor things, come up with plans, and check in with VTA leadership. Please take care of yourself and your families, just as our student’s families’ will.