Leadership Academy: Day One

Good evening, educators. I've transcribed and organized my notes from today's Leadership Academy in an effort to bring as much information to our members as possible. You received an email today introducing me (Nathan Erfurth) as the point person on the Smart Start plan, so please feel free to contact me via email or Facebook, or contact your building rep to voice your concerns. 

Some highlights:

  • Masking will be required for all staff, and for students grades three and up.
  • The board has requested of DEED that KPBSD be funded based on last year's enrollment rather than this years, since a dramatic budget impact may happen with the number of students moving to alternative online options.
  • Pay was increased for subs recently, but we still need recruitment.

A brief summary of some areas of concern:

  • No barriers or any other PPE beyond state-provided masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer will be provided by the district.
    • Additional barriers are a site-based decision.
    • Educators are strongly discouraged from implementing their own barriers, and if they do must get approval through their building admin and facilities. There is a Plexiglas shortage, so requests for barriers from district will be prioritized by need.
    • The fire marshal does not want many barriers, citing too much plastic in classrooms may be a hazard if there's a fire.
  • Buildings will not be retrofitted with sufficient filtration.
  • There is not yet a plan for winter, when we have to teach indoors, but cannot have outdoor air piped in through central air systems due to low temperatures.
  • The sub problem is not yet addressed; advice was to have educators do their best to encourage community members to sign up to sub.
  • There is not yet a clear tool to determine how various types of leave would be used due to a positive test, symptoms, or because a student tests positive. HR is working on it. Cited are the nearly infinite possibilities in leave needs, and the complicated leave landscape.
  • Options to telework are dependent on the number of students attending school in person at your site; it may not be permitted if you are needed there. This is handled case-by-case.
  • Most decisions have been left to site leadership teams, leaving us with few answers and placing the weight of these choices (and their consequences) on administrators.
  • There are more questions than there are answers.

Please see my notes for details on these concerns and highlights. I have also linked, in a few places, relevant literature and tools.

I have received many questions and concerns about safety. I am answering them as I am able. Please keep them coming. It's my honor to represent you.

- Nathan