CORONAVIRUS INFO
FOR STAFF

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Schools Closed: Through April 15

Spring Break: March 23-27

Be sure to check our social media sites for the most up-to-date information during this closure. Also pay close attention to the CDC’s website for any updates regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

ALL EMPLOYEES
will be paid during the closure

Governor DeSantis' Stay at Home Order [Issued 4/3/20]

Yesterday, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order to stay at home and “take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19” to the following individuals:

  1. senior citizens (65 and older), or
  2. individuals with a significant underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease).

Further, according to the Order, all citizens of the State, are asked to limit movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.

Supplemental documents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security referenced in the Order (and attached to the Order) further state, “[employees] supporting public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions” are deemed essential employees.

Pursuant to Executive Order 20-91, beginning April 3, PCPS will continue with our distance learning plan and we will also continue to provide meals to our community throughout our closure as these are essential services. However, based on the Order, if you are 65 or older, or have a significant medical condition (as outlined above), you shall stay at home. Please note, you may be required to work virtually (from home) depending upon your job position and function.

 If you are over 65 or have an underlying health condition, please click on the following link and complete the form: https://forms.gle/amLxTNRVLcAF7knP9. Once the form is complete, HR will notify your supervisor that you will stay at home. Please note, HR will not share your confidential medical information with your supervisor.

All other staff will continue to work virtually or will follow their current schedule as previously provided by their supervisor.

Dear PCPS employees,

I hope this communication finds you and your family well.

The last few days have been quite trying for us all. I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate and move forward. As things evolve, we will continually adjust to do what’s best for our staff, our students, and our community. We are not perfect, we are human. More importantly, we are all in this together. Let’s be compassionate with each other over the next few days, weeks, and months during this pandemic.

I want to thank all of our school nutrition staff, custodians, school administrators, school safety guardians, and school resource officers, and all the other staff who have worked tirelessly so our schools could provide approximately 50,000 meals to our community this past week.

District ICP: Yesterday all instructional staff received the districts Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP). I attached the ICP and related  documents to this email. The ICP will guide our way of work over the next few weeks beginning March 30, 2020.

Returning to work: We will return to work on March 30, 2020. Our priority is your safety, therefore, the goal is to offer 100% distance learning so many employee groups are not reporting to a building. Most employee groups are listed below along with their reporting guidelines. If the employee group to which you are assigned is instructed to report to a building, please remember to practice social distancing. Also no more than 10 people should be in a building at any one time.

Teachers: The goal is to have 100% distance learning. March 30-April 1 is scheduled as a time to orient, plan, and prepare. Instruction is expected to be delivered virtually beginning April 2, 2020. Please refer to March 20th email attached.

Itinerants/Related Service Providers/Non-Classroom Instructional Personnel/Student Services: Provide virtual consultations. Please contact Learning Support supervisor for more direction beginning March 30 or contact the Teaching and Learning Department. Deans and other non-classroom instructional personnel should receive their direction from their principal.

School Based Network Managers & Media Specialists: Report to worksite on Monday, March 30 to ensure District devices are in Destiny and assist with device distribution. Thereafter, provide virtual technology assistance when needed.

School Counselors: School counselors should work virtually but may be assigned to a weekly alternating schedule on either team A or team B. On week 1, Team A will report to their school building on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On week 1, Team B will report to their school building on Tuesday and Thursday. On week 2, Team A will then report on Tuesday and Thursday and Team B will report on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tasks and duties will be assigned by the Principal. School counselors can continue to hold parent and/or student conferences via phone and provide progress updates via email.  Please document your notification to the parent/guardian/student regarding the time, date and phone number/email address and method for the conference (phone, virtual, email).  Make a notation in your counselor log if the parent does not call in, participate in virtual conference or email.

Paras: Principals will assign paras to a weekly alternating schedule on either team A or team B. On week 1, Team A will report to their school building on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On week 1, Team B will report to their school building on Tuesday and Thursday. On week 2, Team A will then report on Tuesday and Thursday and Team B will report on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tasks and duties will be assigned by the Principal but can include the following examples: making instructional packets for students, conducting a virtual student check in about grades or assignments, assist and support instruction under teacher direction, assist with school’s meal distribution, clerical duties and administrative support which include but not limited to contacting families in support of distance learning here.

ESP: Principals will assign ESP staff  to a weekly alternating schedule on either team A or team B. On week 1, Team A will report to their school building on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On week 1, Team B will report to their school building on Tuesday and Thursday. On week 2, Team A will then report on Tuesday and Thursday and Team B will report on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tasks and duties will be assigned by the Principal but can include the following examples: making instructional packets for students, conducting a virtual student check in about grades or assignments, assist and support instruction under teacher direction, assist with school’s meal distribution, clerical duties and administrative support which include but not limited to contacting families in support of distance learning here.

Non-School Based ESP: Please contact your supervisor/manager for direction and assignments.

Custodians: Area managers will provide direction and assignments.

School Nutrition: School nutrition managers will provide direction and assignments.

Maintenance: Facilities will provide direction and assignments.

Bus drivers & Other Transportation Employees: Area managers will provide direction to bus drivers no later than Sunday, March 29 for Monday, March 30. Other employees will receive direction from Student Support Services.

In-person meetings: Effective immediately, in person meetings should be cancelled. All meetings must occur virtually (Microsoft Teams) or telephonically. Pursuant to the CDC guidelines, all gatherings of 10 or more should be avoided in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Internet services: If you need internet services at home, many companies are offering free connectivity during this time; click here to learn more: https://www.internetessentials.com/.

Instructional School Year: Many families are concerned about extending the school year. It is the goal of the PCPS system to end the school year on-time, or as close to May 28 (traditional last day of school) as possible. The Instructional Continuity Plan allows us to document instructional days while schools are closed due to the virus. We know many graduating seniors already have plans to begin college, join the military, or begin working. We are committed to doing our best to ensure these opportunities can still begin as we conclude the school year.

The challenges we will face in the days ahead are unprecedented, but we can and will get through it. Please remember to practice social distancing in both your personal and professional lives. No more than 10 people should be in any space/gathering area at any one time.

Like you, we have many questions that we are working through. We thank you for your flexibility, patience, compassion, and support. We promise to keep you updated as this evolves. We will get through this as one district and one team.

Be sure to visit polkschoolsfl.com, PCPS social media, local news media, and your district email for updates as things are rapidly changing.

Stay well,
Teddra

I hope this communication finds you and your loved ones well.

Linked to this post are three documents: Memorandum of Understanding with PEA, an Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP), and a Teacher ICP Support Document.

The ICP will guide our way of work over the next few weeks beginning March 30, 2020. Also, I know that there have been questions about physically reporting to a building on that date. Our priority is your safety, therefore, the goal is to be 100% virtual so you are not required to report to a building. As you return to work (not to the buildings), and begin your distance learning experience, March 30-April 1 is scheduled as a time to orient, plan and prepare. Instruction is expected to be delivered virtually beginning April 2, 2020.  Please contact your building principal for details specific to your work location.  Additionally, helpful hints for distance learning are found in the attached ICP.

Regarding evaluations, we are still waiting for additional guidance from the Florida Department of Education regarding instructional evaluations and will provide you more information upon receiving it.

Be sure to get some rest over Spring Break and in these uncertain times, the safety of you, your family, and our students remain our top priority.

Thank you for being a part of the PCPS community!

Stay well,
Teddra

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) announced the following:

  • All K-12 schools and career and technical center campuses are to remain closed through April 15 (previously March 30) and will be re-evaluated every 2 weeks
  • All state-required assessments have been cancelled through the remainder of the school year
  • All remaining assessments for school readiness, voluntary pre-kindergarten and K-12 assessments are cancelled
  • Requirements for graduation and promotion, and final course grades will be evaluated as though those assessments which were cancelled did not exist
  • School performance grades will not be calculated for the 2019-2020 academic year
  • Advised that unspent categorical funds (funds that are allocated for a specific purpose) may be redirected to provide students with digital devices and Internet service.

Given the above, we understand that you have many questions and we appreciate your patience as we move forward through these uncharted circumstances. As we learn more, we will be sure to communicate the most up-to-date and accurate information with you. Our goal is to keep our community safe and our students learning.

Pay & Health Benefits

At this time, there are no changes to pay and PCPS employees will be paid during the closure. Additionally, PCPS employees, retirees, and their dependents will have uninterrupted access to healthcare.

Work Schedules

We are in communication with both PEA and AFSCME regarding the work schedules and virtual instruction. Based on Tuesday’ conference call with FLDOE, buildings are closed through April 15 and work will resume for all employees on March 30 with a different venue and maybe a different schedule. We will send out more information about work locations and work duties in the coming days. Please note that even though our buildings are closed to groups of greater than 10, some employees may be asked to report to the buildings on March 30. CDC guidelines should be followed. We will provide more information to you once we finalize out discussions with both PEA and AFSCME.

Instructional Evaluations & Extending the School Year

We are awaiting guidance from FLDOE on the status of instructional evaluations and extending the school year. We hope to have this information soon.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

You can receive emotional well-being and support through our insurance 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You can also access up to 7 counseling sessions per issue each year. Visit with a counselor online with televideo or get in-the-moment support by phone. Services are free and confidential. EAP can assist with a wide range of issues including:  relationship support, stress management, family issues, work/family balance, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, substance misuse and more, self-esteem and personal development. If you are interested in EAP, please call 1-800-272-7252 or www.resourcesforliving.com Login: PCS Password: PCS.

We encourage you to adhere to the CDC guidelines regarding gatherings of more than 10 and practicing social distancing in your personal and professional lives. We thank you for your flexibility and patience during this time of uncertainty. We are working to ensure you receive the most up-to-date and accurate information. Please be sure to check your district email, polkschoolsfl.com, and follow social media for additional updates.

Most importantly, please take care of yourselves and your families. Stay well everyone!

Dear PCPS employees,

We are experiencing unprecedented situations in our schools and communities with the uncertainty of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Polk County Public Schools and our superintendent’s team is working diligently to address all the concerns and needs during the shutdown.

Superintendent Byrd requested that we move the March pay date to Friday, March 20 instead of Tuesday, March 31 to help employees face the next few weeks and prepare for time with your families. Given this, all employees will be paid on Friday, March 20. Best and brightest payments will be included on this check.

We hope this will assist you in meeting the needs of your family during this unprecedented situation.

Stay well,

Teddra

Dear staff members,

Polk County Public Schools has announced it will close schools from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 27, in response to the coronavirus.

During this closure, the school district’s two employee health clinics will be operating on an appointment-only basis. Walk-ins will not be taken during the closure.  

Patients are asked to call 863-419-3322 to schedule an appointment. Clinic staff members will ask patients about their symptoms and travel history, in order to screen them for coronavirus. If an appointment is necessary, clinic staff will strive to make it for the same or next day.

If a patient has coronavirus symptoms or has recently traveled to an area where there is widespread coronavirus infection, they will be instructed to self-isolate at home and contact the Health Department.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this temporary change in clinic operations causes. Please understand this is being done to limit exposure to coronavirus.

Additionally, please understand there may be reduced staffing at the clinic during the school closure to accommodate clinic staff members who must care for their school-aged children. We apologize in advance for any delays or inconvenience this may cause.

Please visit polkschoolsfl.com/healthinformation for the latest updates and resources related to coronavirus. You may also call the state’s dedicated coronavirus call center at 866-779-6121. This line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  For questions related to coronavirus on a local level, please call the Florida Department of Health in Polk County’s information center at 863-519-7911 . This information center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From Human Resources Services (HRS)
Thursday, March 12, 2020

We care deeply about your health and safety. Polk County Public Schools (“PCPS”) continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is in constant contact with the Florida Department of Health. We know many of you have questions about travel, especially as spring break approaches. Please continue reading for important information related to employee travel. At this point, all healthy PCPS employees are expected to maintain normal work operations, although some adjustments may need to be made on a case-by-case basis.

District-Sponsored Travel

All district-sponsored (out-of-state and international) employee travel has been suspended until the end of the school year, which is May 29. All district-sponsored in-state employee travel is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Decisions will be made based on the trip destination, itinerary and the latest guidance from the Florida Department of Health.

Please continue to check conference websites as many conferences are being cancelled. Also, please understand that as we receive additional information about coronavirus, additional travel cancellations may be needed.

Returning to Work After Travel (personal or district-sponsored)

For those who may be traveling, please be aware of important guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has issued in response to coronavirus, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Depending on the destination you have visited or the mode of travel you used, the CDC may advise that you self-isolate and/or monitor your symptoms for 14 days. Please carefully review and closely follow the CDC’s travel guidelines. Note that there are specific guidelines for cruise ship travelers. In particular, if a case of coronavirus is reported on your cruise, you must self-isolate in your home for 14 days after you return. All CDC travel directives apply to all students and employees of the School District of Polk County.

PCPS, the Polk Education Association, and AFSCME have agreed that any employee who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or anyone who has been directed to self-isolate by a medical professional or government agency, will be put on paid administrative leave for the duration of their isolation. Documentation of the diagnosis will be required.

Employees choosing to self-isolate out of concern for their health or the health of others must follow normal work rules, which cover sick leave, vacation or other leave policies. Leave should be requested from their supervisor. Please note, employees in an unpaid leave status will not be disciplined. 

School and District Operations

PCPS is finalizing an in-depth plan for responding to coronavirus. The plan will encompass academics and all areas of school district operations. That plan will be distributed to staff in the coming days.

Additional Information

Please visit polkschoolsfl.com/healthinformation for the latest updates and resources related to coronavirus. You may also call the state’s dedicated coronavirus call center at 866-779-6121. This line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For questions related to coronavirus on a local level, please call the Florida Department of Health in Polk County’s information center at 863-519-7911. This information center is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We realize these restrictions will force our families and employees to make difficult decisions. However, our absolute top priority at this time is to try and make our schools, work sites, and community as healthy as possible.

Thank you for your understanding, patience, and cooperation.