Monday, March 23, 2020
As we go deeper into a world of unknowns,I want to assure you that USEP is working on your behalf to ensure that all employees, even those who are working in temporary working conditions, are provided a safe environment, that all employees will continue to earn a paycheck, and that we provide the best opportunity moving forward for the educational experience for our students.
We are all anxious as to what happens next and change and fear of the unknown causes us all concern. While conditions change constantly from state and national mandates, Director of Operations Jim Ciadella and I are in constant contact with senior District staff. Since many things remain fluid, putting conditions into an MOU at this time would prove difficult. We certainly understand that the District is reluctant to put into wring certain conditions that they might not be able to honor should situations change over time. The District has also stated to us that they understand USEP’s obligation to our members and the right to bargain the impact of change to our members working conditions, safety concerns and other contractual concerns. We have all agreed that we will memorialize agreements moving forward into an MOU, but our immediate focus is to return to educating our students in the best and safest manner possible. We are in constant collaboration of ideas on how to best achieve our goals and protect the rights and concerns of members. While this may not be the traditional method of bargaining, both sides are working together to move our District forward amidst this crisis.
All Instructional personnel should have received by now information on the District’s plan for “distance learning”. That in-service will take place online on Friday, March 27, 2020. Participation and completion of this training will be monitored by each worksite’s administration and we were notified late Sunday afternoon that In-service points will be awarded for successful completion of this training. In addition, you will receive an additional 4 hours pay at your hourly rate for your participation in this endeavor.
Monday, March 30, 2020, will be a regular planning day for teachers. Grading for the third quarter should be worked on during this time with the intent to complete the grades for an April 2 deadline. If you need any materials for grading or planning, you are to contact your administration on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, for entrance to the building.
Students will “return” to your virtual classroom on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. “Distance learning” will be a new way of communicating to our students, and even with training, will not be perfect. If we work together and reflect on what works instead of pointing out flaws, adjustments can be made for the benefit of all. You are USEP’s eyes and ears, now more than ever before. It is important for you to see the glitches that most assuredly will arise and offer constructive suggestions for improvement. Let USEP know of concerns so we may address them promptly with the District personnel.
The District understands that not everyone will “soar to new heights” with this new method of instruction but has pledged to provide resources and help for anyone who asks. This is a time when both sides, administrators and instructors, must come together for the common good.
SRP – if you are offered a chance to sign-up for additional work opportunities, PLEASE take advantage of them to help ensure the work gets done and you get paid.
In conversation this morning, District staff has stated again that it is there intent to pay all employees through the end of the year. Not all groups of employees are funded through the FEFP, funding the District gets from the state. The District is trying to confirm Federal Emergency funding availability to cover these concerns. They will be meeting today to discuss this very issue. We will share this news with you as soon as it is provided to us.
Situations may change in our state or county before any of this transpires, but you all need to know that USEP IS ALIVE AND WELL AND ARE ACTING ON YOUR BEHALF! We have scheduled updates with District staff to get clarification on many other concerns that keep popping up. Again, this situation is fluid, and no one can prepare for everything, but we continue to advocate for all of you Please stay safe and be well.
Resources and Information during COVID-19
- Get Your Home Ready, CDC
- Free Meals for Kids and Teens, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- COVID-19 testing centers, BayCare
- Resources for Families, Florida Department of Education
- “Reemployment” Assistance (unemployment pay), Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Phone numbers to call for help
- Senior Help Line: 1-800-96-ELDER (800-963-5337)
- 211: dial 2 1 1 from any phone
- Text your zip code to: 898211