United School Employees of Pasco
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April 7th Coronavirus Update
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April 7th Coronavirus Update

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
News Update

If you aren’t able to view the video, please watch it here:

Hello USEP member,

Welcome to the “new normal”. Let me try to give you the latest in relative news. Last week I told everyone seeking recertification of their certificate that the DOE had granted a 120-day extension to the process. No one seems to be quite sure when the 120 days started, but the best guess is that you should start your process as soon as possible and most certainly before July 1, 2020. On an FEA President’s call last night, we were informed that FEA has requested of the DOE a one-year exemption for all recertifications. We are currently awaiting a response, but in the interim urge people to start the process in a timely manner should this not be granted.

The District has cancelled all District Final exams. We learned on a conference call with District staff yesterday that they are exploring the best method under current conditions to handle AP and Industry Certification exams since students are not to be on campus. The Governor and DOE revisit current conditions in the state regarding COVID-19 and make recommendations accordingly. At this point in time, the thinking is that it is highly unlikely we will return to campus this school year. Several members have inquired what would happen if we start next school year virtually regarding job security for all classes of employees. We brought that up today in our conference call and were told that current District conversation is still on making sure that all possible supports are in place for students, parents and teachers to make distance learning successful for this year… I can attest from my grandson’s First Grade situation that resources are constantly being added for (grand)parents and students, and the concerns members have brought to our attention either have been addressed or soon will be.

I want to give a very big shout-out to our eSchool employees. They have been utilized in many situations to act as resources for struggling staff members and were mentioned by the District as very willing to help. THANK YOU eSCHOOL FOR ALL YOUR HELP! I’m not sure if the current situation has people wanting to join your ranks or glad that under regular circumstances they have no part of the virtual world.

We confirmed that Best and Brightest bonus pay-outs are still expected to be paid in early May. From a safety standpoint, one of the most essential services being offered is the food service distribution. I have heard on the President’s call and seen on television how other districts are performing this task and our District has taken a pretty good approach to the issue. Not only are they distributing once a week (containing 5 breakfast and 5 lunch orders) thereby reducing the number of employee contacts, but they have minimized even that by having parents pop their trunk and placing the bags there to eliminate any personal contact. We indeed are way out in front of most all other districts in this program. Much thanks to District staff for their insight into making this happen.

Is everything being addressed? Probably not, but as things ARE brought to our attention, we have conversation with Senior District Staff to work out acceptable results. THIS IS USEP IN ACTION FOR YOU!

As we head into our second week (and it is a short week), let’s capitalize on what went well, work to change what didn’t, and most importantly, WORK TOGETHER! Just like all of us, our students and their parents and guardians are dealing with frustrations and anxieties that have nothing to do with schooling but what is happening in each of their homes and lives. Remember that when a student doesn’t understand an assignment or concept, they are now turning to whomever is at home with them who must then stop what they are doing to help. It should be easy for us to envision the same frustration they feel. We often share those feelings in our classrooms. Our parents and guardians need to be our biggest supporters during this time. Building a bond with them has never been more important, so please be understanding when assigning and grading student work.

Let us know how we can help. When you communicate (virtually, of course) with potential members at your worksite, let them know what YOUR union is doing to support our members. Virtual recruiting is still about making a connection. Whether it’s in response to a question or in a virtual PLC, put in a good word for your professional organization. And remember, it’s not about U, it’s about USEP!


  • No employees laid off for remainder of the year
  • Full salary paid for all regular and part-time employees through remainder of the year
  • Employee safety prioritized. No employee put into an unsafe environment
  • Appropriate safety gear provided for employees in need (N95 and ventilator masks, gloves, etc.)
  • Bonus pay for employees called to work during March 23-27, 2020
  • Bonus pay for all Instructional employees completing the Distance Learning training on March 27, 2020
  • Inservice points for all Instructional employees completing the Distance Learning training
  • Collaborated Leave process for all employees regarding COVID-19/Compromised Immune Systems
  • Clarified work-day expectations (7.5 hours as normal w/plan/lunch; address student/parent concerns in timely fashion)
  • Clarified Google Voice is NOT REQUIRED

Stay healthy!

Don Peace, President

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If you are an employee of Pasco County Schools and not already a member of USEP, consider joining today! Members are eligible for a wide range of benefits through our affiliates and benefit partners. USEP also provides members with professional development opportunities and representation for member issues.