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home : community : community July 9, 2020

3/20/2020 4:26:00 PM
COVID-19 Update: Schools Approve Working from Home

Lincoln County Schools
Press Release

A message from Dr. Lory Morrow
Lincoln County Schools

Lincoln County Schools is diligently working with state and local officials on a daily basis to ensure our employees and students are safe and healthy.  On March 15, 2020, officials with the Department of Public Instruction provided local school districts with guidance regarding employee pay and leave.  According to officials from DPI, local districts are granted flexibility to assign job duties and duty stations in order to keep as many employees as possible in pay status.  This includes changing regular job assignments and when possible, assigning employees to work from home.  If an employee is unable to work, DPI advised districts that employees must use their accrued leave. 

Over the past week, we have asked teachers to report to work in order to plan and prepare for the transition to digital learning.  Other employees have also been asked to come to work in order to prepare and deliver meals and to perform other essential functions.  We understand that certain staff members are unable to report to work due to health issues, child or elder care issues, or because the employee is in a high-risk category as it relates to COVID-19. These employees are not required to report to work and may use any and all available leave in order to remain in a pay status. 

At this time, DPI has not provided local school districts with the flexibility of granting emergency leave to employees, although the state has extended this type of leave to other state agencies.  Emergency leave flexibility would allow the district to continue to pay an eligible employee who is unable to work without requiring the employees to use his or her accrued leave.   It is our hope that the state will extend the flexibility of using emergency leave to local school districts in the near future.  If the emergency leave flexibility is extended, Lincoln County Schools will reimburse any eligible employee any leave used during the state of emergency,   

Today [Friday March 20th] the Lincoln County Board of Education voted in support of my recommendation to provide remote work options to various employees across the district. Beginning on March 23, 2020 various employee groups will be given the option of working from home.  Direct supervisors will be communicating information and specific guidance to their employee groups.  Some employees, however, will need to report to work in order to maintain the continuity of meal service and delivery as well as other essential services.  If an employee who is required to report to work is unable to report to work for reasons related to COVID-19, they may choose to remain at home and take available leave.  This includes employees that are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, employees who have a member of their household experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, employees who must stay at home to care for children or other family members, employees that are in high-risk categories or otherwise medically fragile, employees with a household member that is high risk or medically fragile, or employees who simply believe it is safer for them to stay at home at this time.  Again, if emergency leave flexibility is extended to school districts, any used leave will be reimbursed to eligible employees.

The health and safety of our employees and students is our top priority, more now than ever.  If any employee feels uncomfortable reporting to work, they are welcome to speak with their supervisor and we will do our best to meet their individual needs.  To end, I want to thank all of our employees for the amazing job they have done this week. Whether preparing learning experiences for students, making and delivering student meals, or keeping up our continuity of operations, our employees have pulled together to ensure our students’ needs are met. 

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