Frequently Asked Questions

We will continue to gather questions and research answers during this year of working and learning at home. You can submit your questions on the Your Voice: Questions, Concerns & Ideas form.

Note: We archived the spring 2020 questions and answers at the bottom of this page to make it easier to identify the questions as we plan for and begin school in Fall 2020.

 

Child Care

What if I cannot work my full schedule—or at all—because I do not have childcare for my child(ren)?
Please contact your supervisor and the Human Resources Department, who will assist you with accessing applicable leave you may have available. In addition to leave provided under district policy and/or your collective bargaining agreement (if applicable), employees may be eligible for additional paid leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee has a bona fide need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19

Equipment

Facilities

Furlough

Are we likely to continue to be furloughed in the fall?
While we are still waiting for more information about funding for some of our programs, we know enough that we will not have an ESD-wide furlough in the fall the way we did last May and June.
My benefits for the week of 6/6 are not correct, what do I need to do?
We are aware that our employees that were furloughed for two days the week ending 6/6 only received benefits for one furlough day. We’ve notified the Oregon Employment Department of this and they are performing an audit of those payments to correct any errors.
My benefits look lower than I expected, how can I determine if they're correct.
You should have received a letter stating what your weekly benefit amount is. If you were furlough 1 day during what would typically be a 40 hour work week, you would be eligible for 20% (1 day out of 5) of your weekly benefit amount. If you were furloughed for 2 days, you would be eligible for 40%. You will also need to factor in taxes if you requested that those be withheld.
I received a denial letter for the week ending 6/13 due to a "school recess period".
If you received a denial letter for any week other than 5/30, and for any reason other than the waiting period, please let Rochelle Friend (rochelle.friend@hdesd.org) know so that it can be submitted to the Oregon Employment Department for correction/review.
I received a denial letter for the week ending 5/30, will I receive benefits for this week?
Typically in Oregon there is a 1 week “waiting period” (the first week you claim unemployment insurance) in which benefits are not paid. Governor Brown waived this requirement due to COVID-19. We are eligible to receive both standard unemployment benefits for this week and the additional CARES funds. Before those payments can happen though, the Oregon Employment Department has to update their system. It is not clear when they will do this, or when our benefits will be paid.
I requested my benefits to be paid via direct deposit, but I've received a debit card. Do I need to activate it?
Yes! Due to the backlog at the employment department, they will not be paying any claims via direct deposit. You will receive one payment on a physical check, the remaining payments will be uploaded to the debit card.

Health & Safety

I have concerns about liability. If I am seeing a kid face to face I give a student Covid, am I liable? If a child gives me Covid, who is liable? If another staff member gives me Covid, who is liable?
ODE is coordinating closely with the Oregon Health Authority to formulate guidelines that are intended to keep students and staff safe, including when staff is providing in-person instruction. As such, the HDESD will follow the guidance, including any metrics that districts must meet to provide any in-person instruction, and, to the extent the metrics permit any in-person instruction, all required safety protocols to protect our staff and students.
Some colleges are obtaining their own testing materials and contracting directly with a lab in order to be more effective with contact tracing/controlling the spread…is there any talk of HDESD doing that?
We are partnering with our Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs) and healthcare providers who will continue to take the lead on COVID-19 testing and contact tracing in our community.
What are my employment leave options if I contract COVID-19?
Please let Human Resources know immediately if you receive a positive test result for COVID-19. Employees who fall ill with COVID-19 are eligible for two weeks of paid leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL). Assuming an employee has not already used EPSL leave for another purpose, an employee may use this leave if they fall ill with COVID-19. If an employee is still ill with COVID-19 after they run out of EPSL leave, employees may take applicable accrued leave, and may qualify for FMLA/OFLA protected leave for the duration of the illness.
I have heard that the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority are directing schools to use COVID-19 metrics to determine when and how schools can open? Where should I go to find the most updated metrics for our region?

County metrics are released weekly and posted HERE.

School and Service Districts will be tracking the following 3 metrics to determine when and how to open school buildings.

*County Case Rate < 10 cases per 100,000 cases
*County Test Positivity Rate of < 5%
*State Test Positivity Rate of < 5%

Please note that there are a small set of expectations, including Limited In Person Instruction.

What are my options if I feel it isn’t safe for me to come to work based on my medical issues or the medical issues of someone that lives with me?
Please contact your supervisor and the Human Resources Department, who will work with you and your health care professional to determine what the best options are for you. If you have a disability, you will need to go through a process with Human Resources to see if we can make reasonable accommodations at the work site and/or how your work duties are performed. If you do not have a disability, Human Resources will be able to help you access applicable leave you may have available.
What if I am required to quarantine because of a potential contact with a COVID-positive person?
The District may assign you telework for the duration of the quarantine. If the quarantine renders you unable to telework, you may be eligible for paid leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) at the employee’s regular rate of pay if an employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined pursuant to federal, state or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider.
What will happen if we travel by airplane during the school year? Will we have to social distance and be off work for 2 weeks?
As an organization we do not plan to sponsor any work related air travel this school year. There is nothing specific to being in an airplane that we have been told by the Oregon Health Authority that will require anyone to automatically self-quarantine. If any of our staff have been told that they have been exposed to COVID-19 through contact tracing (whether that’s on a plane or in a grocery store, or at a friend’s house) we will follow the local health authority’s recommended steps for that person to avoid spreading the virus.
What PPE will be standard and available to all HDESD?
Masks and/or face coverings and gloves will be available to all HDESD employees. Please make specific PPE requests to your director supervisor.

Human Resources

What are my employment leave options if I contract COVID-19?
Please let Human Resources know immediately if you receive a positive test result for COVID-19. Employees who fall ill with COVID-19 are eligible for two weeks of paid leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL). Assuming an employee has not already used EPSL leave for another purpose, an employee may use this leave if they fall ill with EPSL. If an employee is still ill with COVID-19 after they run out of EPSL leave, employees may take applicable accrued leave, and may qualify for FMLA/OFLA protected leave for the duration of the illness.
What if I cannot work my full schedule—or at all—because I do not have childcare for my child(ren)?
Please contact your supervisor and the Human Resources Department, who will assist you with accessing applicable leave you may have available. In addition to leave provided under district policy and/or your collective bargaining agreement (if applicable), employees may be eligible for additional paid leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee has a bona fide need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19
What if I am required to quarantine because of a potential contact with a COVID-positive person?
The District may assign you telework for the duration of the quarantine. If the quarantine renders you unable to telework, you may be eligible for paid leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) at the employee’s regular rate of pay if an employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined pursuant to federal, state or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider.

Legal Considerations

I know that the federal oversight committee determined that BLM was not a political statement–federal employees can wear clothing and talk about the movement. Where does High Desert ESD fall as far as, is it ok to wear a BLM t-shirt? I plan on doing a lot of anti racism, equity, and inclusion lessons; can I specifically mention BLM? I feel like it’s all ok and important but also want to know if there is specific policy.
Employees may wear attire that is in conformance with the district’s policies/handbook, does not promote or oppose any political committee, candidate, or ballot measure in violation of ORS 260.432, and does not disrupt the district’s operations or the ability of the employee to carry out the employee’s job functions. A shirt with a Black Lives Matter message likely does not violate ORS 260.432 (unless it also contains political messaging in violation of that law) or the district’s policies/handbook, so it would be permissible to wear unless doing so creates a disruption to the district’s operations. The Black Lives Matter movement may be discussed during instruction in a manner that is age-appropriate and consistent with curricular goals and licensure standards.
How am I going to respond to parents or staff who make statements or ask questions about political issues and the BLM movement? I want to be able to respond with integrity AND I don't want to violate any policies the HDESD may have regarding this.
We should not look to get into political debates with staff and families, but it is important to let others know our stance as an organization and as individuals concerning equity. As a result, a standard response that staff can use is:

“At the HDESD, our board, leadership and staff are committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion being central to the work we do so that we can effectively serve all of our students and families. I am also committed to ensuring that systemic racism in our education system is dismantled so that all of our students can succeed.”

Operations

Professional Development

Supporting Families

Teaching & Learning

Technology

Will the HDESD supplement money to employees that have to increase their data usage for working from home?
Our technology team will release a survey to staff in the coming weeks to better understand our individual work-from-home needs. Once determined, the team will work with program managers and the business office to best determine how to meet the individual and collective needs that arise.

Wellness

Will ReConnect and Wellness Circles continue next year? I feel when we have returned to our pre-COVID work routines, it may be even more important to take that time as part of our work day to focus on our own wellbeing.
We’ve heard from so many team members how valuable and appreciated the ReConnect and Wellness Circle opportunities have been. We’ve put these on our list of “things we don’t want to lose” moving forward. Our plan is to create space to continue these resources as long as we have team members who are interested in participating.

Spring 2020 Archived FAQs

Equipment

What is the ESD's position on sending specialized equipment home to families?

If a student requires assistive devices to access distance learning at home, HDESD staff members must follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting items (including soft porous surfaces, hard surfaces and electronics) in preparing equipment for pick up by or delivery to a student. Families should be notified that HDESD staff are following CDC guidelines to prepare equipment, but that we are not able to guarantee that all equipment will be 100% virus-free. As an additional precaution, families should be advised to review and implement the CDC guidelines for disinfecting and cleaning in the home environment, and provided with the link or a printed copy of those guidelines. For equipment pick up or delivery to a family, all recommended social distancing and other safety measures should be employed. Finally, every effort should be made to ensure the equipment is received by the student or his/her family. This means if you drop equipment off at a doorstep, you should wait in your car to personally observe it is retrieved.

We understand some providers are concerned that checking equipment out to students for use in their homes is inconsistent with licensure requirements, particularly where there is a need to train, supervise and/or monitor the use of the equipment. While we encourage providers to check with their own licensing boards/agencies for specific guidance in light of the distance learning mandate, no provider is expected to engage in activity that may compromise his or her licensure. These considerations should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and all cases should be well documented. 

Facilities

What are the procedures we need to follow to ensure safety while in our buildings?

We are committed to following Governor Brown’s executive order to Stay home–Save Lives. 

While we are open for business, our buildings are closed. In certain cases, and if it is required to provide essential services, you can seek permission from your supervisor to schedule a time to go into your building. Mandatory social distancing is required.

The CDC and  Central Oregon Public Health Officials are advocating that all residents begin wearing a cloth mask to cover their mouths and nose in public in addition to physical distancing measures.

  • U.S. Surgeon General’s no-sew face covering: YouTube Video
  • St. Charles Mask Sewing Instructions: PDF

We have custodians cleaning our buildings more frequently, but in rare cases when you need to come in, we ask that you wash your hands when you arrive and before you leave, wipe down surfaces you have touched (desks, door handles, light switches, etc.) and continue to maintain physical distancing from others.

Furlough

For Part Time employees, how many hours will a furlough day be? The number of hours scheduled on our work calendar or the hours listed on our Assignment Notification? I work 4 eight hour days a week, but technically one day for me is 6.4 hours

If you are part-time (between .5 and .99) you will be furloughed for the entire 8 hours of the assigned day regardless of how many hours you were scheduled to work on that day. If you were assigned less than 8 hours that day, you will work with your supervisor to adjust your hours for the rest of the week. Please connect with your supervisor right away if that is true for you.

Work Share eligibility for Part Time employees states must have worked for 12 months. Is this consecutive months and if so, how will summer break affect this eligibility piece? It has adversely affected things like FMLA qualification and wondering if this has been researched yet. If it would disqualify long term Part Time employees, then would they not be furloughed and would this still be the savings hoped for?

Summer break will not impact Work Share eligibility for part time employees. The 12 month eligibility window starts on the initial hire date. All employees that don’t meet the 12 month criteria will not be furloughed. Ineligible employees were not factored into our daily savings.

I have another job (not with the HDESD) and I plan to pick up extra shifts on the days I am furloughed. Will this affect the unemployment benefit I receive as a result of this furlough?

We believe that this will impact your unemployment benefit. The HDESD will be required to report weekly on any additional wages/incomes for individual employees. It is our understanding that this data will be used to determine the weekly unemployment amount.

I am a PT Classified employee and receive vacation pay. The days are from summer non calendar work days. I currently do not work on Fridays. Can I use a Vacation day each week on Friday as my Furlough day? I have a lot of work and trying to fit it all in.

This is an organization -wide furlough. The specific furlough days are predetermined  and cannot be individually determined by employees. 

You can choose not to use vacation days on June 5th and 12th and your supervisor can then assign those days as furlough days.  If possible, you would then work with your supervisor to find another time to use the vacation days this year.  There is no question that furlough days make fitting in all of our work harder.

Staff who started in August are or are not considered being with us the full year?

The 12 month eligibility starts on the initial hire date.

I retired last year and am working back, but receiving PERS benefits this year. Am I ineligible for this furlough? If so, should I work my regular schedule?

If you are currently receiving PERS benefits you are ineligible for this furlough. Please work your regular scheduled hours through the furlough days.

I understand that we're going to be furloughed. However, what do we do if a school district schedules a transition meeting for a student going to Kindergarten on a day we're not suppose to work and we should legally give feedback on a student and be part of the transition team?

While we are doing our best to mitigate the impact of this decision on our services to kids, we know that you may already have things planned during the scheduled furlough  days. Unfortunately, you will not be able to attend meetings, take calls or respond to emails , during a  furlough day. This   will challenge relationships, productivity and patience.  We know this won’t be easy. 

Your supervisor will work with you to ensure that someone on your team from a different furlough group is assigned to attend the meeting on your behalf to support your students, families and district partners. 

Will we be eligible for and need to file a separate application to access the $600 a week UI claim from federal funds allocated via the CARES Act

You will not need to file a second application to access the additional $600/week. If you are eligible for unemployment, the $600 per week will be automatically included in your Unemployment benefit.

furlough definition image

We have created a one-page Furlough Facts document that includes key information on a single easy-to-read page.

Health and Safety

How will we clean and disinfect the high volume of returned equipment loaned out to students and maintain a safe work environment for HDESD staff?

Staff safety and well being continues to be our priority. Our plan is to develop a system that integrates with the district’s system and closely aligns with the protocols we have previously established for equipment return.   HDESD staff members will be advised to follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting items (including soft porous surfaces, hard surfaces and electronics) in preparing equipment for pick up by or delivery to a student.

I am concerned about being called to emergency childcare as my husband has preexisting health conditions.

We are following Governor Brown’s guidance that, “employees in at-risk categories, or who have an at-risk member of their household, should not be required to physically report to a worksite.”

If you consider yourself or a member of your household to be “at risk,” please contact our Director of HR, Jayel Hayden to confidently disclose your concern.

Is there a process for disclosing staff's underlying health conditions that might put them at risk for complications from the coronavirus (in the event that we are asked to perform public-facing jobs)?

We are following Governor Brown’s guidance that, “employees in at-risk categories or who have an at-risk member of their household should not be required to physically report to a worksite.”

If you consider yourself or a member of your household to be “at risk,” please contact our Director of HR, Jayel Hayden to confidently disclose your concern.

I'm very concerned about being able to stay quarantined until it is very safe to start having contact with others again.

We are committed to following Governor Brown’s executive order to Stay Home–Save Lives.

Additionally, we are following Governor Brown’s guidance that, “employees in at-risk categories or who have an at-risk member of their household should not be required to physically report to a worksite.”

If you consider yourself or a member of your household to be “at risk,” please contact our Director of HR, Jayel Hayden to confidently disclose your concern.

Will the staff who are tapped to provide childcare for the children of first responders and medical personnel have access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety protocols?

If called upon to provide emergency childcare for healthcare and essential-services employees, HDESD will follow the Early Learning Division’s protective guidelines to ensure the health and safety of staff and children in care. These guidelines include providing necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

While school districts and ESDs have been ordered to stand ready to support our community in this way, we are still learning about the specifics of the local need and timing of that need.

My concerns are keeping staff safe and keeping children and families safe. School districts and ESDs are being asked to potentially care for children who have parents working in essential jobs, which likely means their exposure is high.

These are unprecedented times, calling for innovation and adaptability as we work to keep our children and ourselves safe.

If called upon to provide emergency childcare for healthcare and essential-services employees, HDESD will follow the Early Learning Division’s protective guidelines to ensure the health and safety of staff and children in care. These guidelines include providing necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and following safety protocols.

Operations

Is the SSA funding stable for next year?

The initial funding for SSA was based on an estimate of how much the State thought the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) would generate. At the state revenue forecast in May, it was projected that the CAT would bring in $1.2 Billion rather than the $1.6 Billion that was originally budgeted.  That will impact many of the programs being paid for out of the CAT, but it’s much better than initial concerns about how bad the economy would impact the SSA.

What if I have a young child at home and no family around to care for them in my absence and am called in to provide childcare?
We understand the juggle that many of our staff are experiencing right now. The first step would be to reach out to your supervisor and  discuss your situation. We are committed to being as flexible as possible, while fulfilling the requirements of Governor Brown’s executive order to stand ready to provide childcare if needed. 

If you are facing unique circumstances,  there are specific federal leave protections in place to support you. Your  supervisor and our HR Director Jayel Hayden are available to help you navigate these protections. 

Considering we will now not be returning back to school for this school year, will we still lose unused PTO from this school year or is there a way we can use it in the upcoming school year?
During this time, our goal is to follow a “business as usual” whenever possible. That means existing practice, statute and collective bargaining agreements are still in place. This means that sick leave carries over from year to year, but personal leave does not. 

Professional Development

Can we receive PDU's when participating in Webinars? What is the process for doing this?

Yes, PDUs can be awarded for professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning.

The provider of the training can complete a certificate of completion for the participant indicating the number of PDUs (hours) earned. Please contact Jayel Hayden with your specific questions regarding PDUs.

Teaching and Learning

How can we serve preschoolers?

Initially, we will connect with the families via phone and video to learn where they are and how we can provide the most appropriate support at this time. When ready, we will design creative ways to enhance our coaching, teaching and learning under current constraints.

Can I return to my classroom to record videos for families in my classroom and do everything else from home?

We are committed to following Governor Brown’s executive order to Stay Home–Save Lives.

While we are open for business, our buildings are closed. In certain cases, and if it is required to provide essential services, you can seek permission from your supervisor to schedule a time to go into your building. Mandatory social distancing is required while there.

Supporting Families

I am working with a family who is struggling to pay their rent and worried about losing their housing. How can I connect them with resources and support? Additionally, my neighbor is struggling with unmet basic needs, but has no children. Can FAN help him? Or is there another local resource I should refer him to?

Our Family Access Network (FAN) program offers assistance, support and hope to Central Oregon families in need by connecting them with crucial resources. FAN is unique to Central Oregon and FAN advocates are assigned to all public schools in Deschutes and Crook Counties. Here is a list of contact information for each Advocate in each Central Oregon community.  

For community members, without children under 18,  who have unmet basic needs, please refer them to Thrive Central Oregon

I know that families are served by multiple programs and providers? How should we best coordinate?

Please communicate with your supervisor when you know that a family/student is served by more than just you within the ESD.  Work with your supervisor to develop a communication plan with the other providers so that families receive more coordinated communication.

How will we support families with limited literacy skills?

As always, we will do our very best to meet families where they are socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively, culturally and linguistically.

We will use a variety of communication strategies to ensure that connection is maintained. Including, but not limited to. phone, video and image-based communication.

How are we going to check in on children to make sure they are OK? For some, school is their safe space.

While this is an unsettling and disorienting time for all, this is particularly true for our most vulnerable children and families. 

As before, our job will be to do our very best to meet families where they are and provide connection, support and resources as best we can within the current restrictions. Staff who usually work directly with students and families will be connecting with those students and families remotely. This will be a collective and imperfect effort.

I am concerned about bilingual students’ access to the internet and devices, especially families living in Jefferson County and in our other rural communities.

We will be doing everything in our power to get the families we serve the devices and internet access they need during this time. We know that many, but not all families have this access.

As you learn about specific technology needs that families have, please share the details with your supervisor and together with the tech team and interpretive services we will reach the best possible solution.

Technology

What are the best practices for interacting with students and families via live video?

Our IT and legal departments have been working to provide comprehensive guidance on how we can safely and effectively engage with students and families via live video. Please review these documents:

Criteria & Process for meeting with students and families via live video

What to do with the live video recordings

 

I am concerned that I may exceed my current data plan and incur additional costs. Will the HDESD pay for overages and additional fees?

While not all staff are or could be served by BendBroadband or CenturyLink, we have learned that both of these companies have temporarily stopped disconnections, will waive late fees, and are not charging data cap overages for the next 60 days.

80-90% of our staff are covered at home with high speed internet, so we are designing solutions case-by-case, as we are made aware of staff technology needs.

Please reach out to our tech team using the live-chat feature in the bottom right corner of this page.

What technology support will we be lending to families with limited or no access to the internet or devices?

We will be doing everything in our power to get families the devices and access they need during this time. We know that many, but not all families have this access.

As you learn about specific technology needs that families have, please share the details with your supervisor and together with the tech team, we will reach the best possible solution.

Could we all have access to DocuSign software and training?

As it becomes clear which new tools are needed for us to be as efficient, excellent and equitable as possible, we are committed to making what is needed available.

If we are asked to speak with a family/student directly, is it appropriate to use our personal cell phone if it's the only line at home?

Connecting with families, students and each other is going to be a central task of the coming weeks and likely months. Please work with your supervisor to secure the tools you need to be successful in this work.

You may use your personal cell phones to connect with families. If you would prefer to “mask” your number so that those you are calling cannot identify your number, please reach out to our tech team using the live-chat feature in the bottom right corner of this page.

I am concerned about bilingual students’ access to the internet and devices, especially families living in Jefferson County and in our other rural communities.

We will be doing everything in our power to get the families we serve the devices and internet access they need during this time. We know that many, but not all families have this access.

As you learn about specific technology needs that families have, please share the details with your supervisor and together with the tech team and interpretive services we will reach the best possible solution.

I will be connecting with families and students on my personal cell phone. What is the best way to mask my phone number?

You may use your personal cell phones to connect with families. If you would prefer to “mask” your number so that those you are calling cannot identify your number, please reach out to our tech team using the live-chat feature in the bottom right corner of this page.