Coronavirus Updates from PGCEA
Offices are closed however our staff is available Monday through Friday (9 am-5 pm) by email or phone.
The COVID-19 Emergency Shutdown Continues-Public Schools Closed until May 15th.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, the State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon extended the School Closure until May 15, 2020. Over the last several weeks, COVID-19 cases have continued to climb statewide with the largest number right here in Prince George’s County. In that light, the decision to extend the statewide school closures is understandable for everyone’s safety.
PGCPS CEO Dr. Monica Goldson has scheduled a series of PGCPS Town Halls for this week. Please share with students, fellow employees, and Parents.
Tuesday, April 21 — Students (held with Student Member of the Board Joshua Omolola)
Thursday, April 23 — Employees
Wednesday, April 29 — Family and community
All town halls will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We will provide dial-in information for the town halls as it is available on our PGCEA Website, email, and social media.
Our PGCEA Distance Learning Team met again with Dr. Coley, Dr. Libby, Dr. White, and Dr. Mason on Friday April 16. The Team shared concerns we received through our email@example.com, from emails to UNIServs and calls from members.
Distance Learning Highlights included the following:
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IS ONGOING
If you need additional professional development on software offering, the recorded technology videos can be found at the link below. Once the link is clicked there is a button at the top right of the screen that says "Connecting with Students". Click the button and all the videos are listed by topic. Click here for the Remote Teachers Toolkit. PGCPS also has a Distance Learning Page on the website but the Teacher/ School Staff Distance Learning Guide is available click here. The latter is the living breathing document.
If you need your password reset or are having other technical issues with your equipment email firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 301-386-1549. It is better to email as opposed to calling. If your laptop is at your school, contact your principal asap.
Google Classroom Access
There has been a request for educators to give access to your Google Classroom to Administration. Please cooperate as the system has the right to access. You can give the student codes to prevent changes to your classrooms. We were assured that Administrators will not be making critical comments in chat messages as students can see them. There are many software offerings that you may use that have been presented. It is up to you as the professional educator to decide what is best for you, your students and their families. You do not have to do live lessons. You may record lessons or use any of the approved offerings. If you have questions ask, your principal. You also do not need to be live on Zoom from 9-1. You have to be available.
The PPW’s were not in the original plan. Their roles were shared with principals and Dr. Mason agreed to meet with PPW’s to discuss their plan.
Translation services are available using language links. Language links wait times are very long and you have to call back each time. The system is aware.
The duty day is 9-1 pm. Be advised, according to Negotiated Agreement, there is one staff meeting per month and one back to school night. Please remember that this is an emergency and there may be emergency meetings. A meeting everyday after 1 is not an emergency meeting.
Individualized Continued Learning Plans. The ICLP’s are not IEP’s. Special Educators should continue to attempt to reach parents. Three attempts is sufficient. After three attempts send names of student s to your SPED Coordinator for instructions.
Is musical instrument pickup available? Not at this time
We will continue to meet weekly and submit questions in advance that we have been receiving from members. The written responses to questions submitted to the CEO and her staff and their responses are available on our Corona Virus/Page on our website www.pgcea.org.
Other Highlights are as follows:
- Pay will continue uninterrupted. You will be paid during the closure according to negotiated agreement and after the closure, we return to negotiated payrolls. You should see no change in salary or benefits. Each case of issues with leave will be handled on a case by case basis.
- Distance Learning begins April 14. Chromebook distribution began last Wednesday. The system is assisting families with internet service
- All staff should have their laptops at home. If you do not have internet at your primary residence we are negotiations with Verizon to see what further services are available. They do offer a lower priced option for educators during the shutdown. Here is the link. https://www.verizon.com/support/consumer/account/manage-account/lifeline-discount. We are working on Comcast
- All unit one members are expected to be available from 9 AM- 1 PM.
- Professional Development If you were unable to sign up for a Professional Development Class or were kicked out of one, please alert your supervisor. Professional Development will be ongoing over the coming weeks.
- Evaluations Evaluations are on hold until the state makes a decision. It is advised that if you have your necessary observations completed that you should complete your 4E to complete your responsibility. This is to keep you form being on cycle again next year.
- A joint PGCEA and PGCPS team met on Friday April 17 to discuss the impact and issues members are experiencing.
- Technology support is available from the Help Desk for passwords and issues with your laptop. Email http://help.pgcps.org/or call (301)386-1549. Email is best to avoid long phone waits.
- The Employee Services Center is a centralized single point of contact and resource for employees, retirees, former employees, and stakeholders who have inquiries regarding their employment needs or need assistance with accessing employment related information. https://www.pgcps.org/esc/
Modified 2019-20 School Calendar
- May 15thProposed School Closure ends
- June 2nd: Primary Election – Schools are closed should there be a primary election. If paper is ballots is elected, then there will be a school day for students.
- June 9th: Last day for students
- June 11th:last day for 10 month employees
*May receive a waiver for March 16-27th (no charging of SLB days)
The past two weeks-Work from students for the last two weeks should not be put in SchoolMax. If students are given credit as extra credit ok but otherwise if it is not complete-exempt.
We will do our best to answer every question and offer additional guidance in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, PGCPS will continue meal service and share enrichment packets and other resources using our website, social media channels, e-blasts, text messages and PGCPS-TV (Verizon 38/Xfinity 96).The school system will be providing updated programming on Verizon 38 Xfinity 98
The system will use Social Media to push out info and alerts
Corona Virus web-page resources are available on PGCPS through the staff portal https://www.pgcps.org/coronavirus/employees/
All employees and their eligible dependents enrolled in PGCPS health plans are eligible for video visits, allowing you to consult with a board-certified physician from your smartphone, tablet or computer from the comfort of your home. CareFirst member information. Kaiser member information. Customer Service at CareFirst: 1-800-296-0724 or www.carefirst.com
If you need support during this time there is help and you are not alone.
You can call Employee Assistance Plan
By phone: 1-800-346-0110 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Or go Online:
- Go to: Inova Employee Assistance Program
- Enter the username PGCPS
- Enter the password PRINCE
Please remind your circle of influence that while this is an emergency, PGCEA is available Monday-Friday 9AM-5 PM. 301-736-2700 or email@example.com. We have set up a Corona Virus page on www.pgcea.org
FAQs from Teletown Hall
Process-What will the procedure moving forward with input from our members as it relates to Distance Learning? We are pleased that your team met with members of our negotiations team briefly the Friday before the plan was rolled out. Are you committed to continue this collaborative work? We are extremely grateful for the input provided from PGCEA for the current Distance Learning Plan. Using the input from the committee, the central office team worked through the weekend until 1am Monday to complete the document that was sent to employees a few hours later. For continuity, it is our hope that there will not be many changes. We will reconvene the committee that originally met at the conclusion of the first week of distance learning (April 17, 2020) to determine if there are any areas that need to be clarified for teachers.
Equity Question-How will the system account for the children and PGCEA members who do not have internet access at home? Data service is expensive, if you use your phone as a hotspot. And what is the expectation on cell phone use when school policy tell us not to use personal cell phones to contact parents or children. An allocation of $2 million was approved by the Board of Education to support providing wifi to students that are on Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) and for those immigrant students that did not feel comfortable completing the form to be identified as a FARMS student. In addition, we will be pointing our wifi hotspots in the meal distribution sites towards the parking lot to anyone (including staff) who needs access can have it. On Wednesday, I made a plea to our businesses, non-profit and faith based organizations to ask them to also open up their wifi hotspots for anyone (including staff). I wrote a letter to the Congressional leadership and our state federal representatives asking them to include broadband access for EVERYONE across the nation in the stimulus plan. I received an email from Van Hollen with his specific testimony supporting this request. If passed this would allow everyone to have free access during this pandemic. Lastly, I provided PGCEA leadership with the contact information for Comcast and Verizon to see if they would be willing to provide an educator discount. In terms of cell phone use, of course you can use your phone in these unprecedented times. Please make sure that when you call parents you use *67 before dialing the number so your phone numbers does not show up on their phone or caller ID.
Evaluations- What about those who have completed everything including observations and 4E? Will they have to be on cycle next year? If a tenured employee has completed everything in the evaluation cycle for the 2019-2020 school year then we will denote they are complete. If a tenured employee has not completed the evaluation cycle we will role them over to next year and complete the process then. We are still waiting to hear from MSDE on how to handle nontenured teachers.
Professional Development-What about member who could not get into classes or got and were kicked out? We will offer additional professional development next week.
Grading- How is grading being handled equitably? What is the difference between exempt or incomplete. how do we verify issues with students who are not completing work. For 4th quarter it is difficult to handle grading equitably no matter how much I am trying to close the gap which is why we are using Pass and Incomplete. We have to acknowledge that no matter what we provide there may be some students that cannot meet the daily instructional plan. Contact by the teacher to the family to find out what is going on with the student will help determine how to best support the student. Exempt is only to be used in the gradebook for 3rd quarter when calculating grades. Incomplete is used as a grade for 4th quarter. You will have to use a variety of ways to determine how students have learned the content taught (individual response to questions, work turned in electronically). We are not requiring students to mail work in or to drop it off at the school and someone pick it up. If a student is not completing work they get an I (incomplete) for their grade.
Special Education Issues-Deadlines for IEP’s, Medicaid, Scheduled SST meetings. This information was shared in a memo issued today which will be shared by your principals.
Salary and Benefits: Are we going to continue to get paid after April 24? As long as closure lasts? Yes, you will get paid after April 24, 2020 until school concludes for the school year. The reason I only state until April 24 is because if we go back to “normal” after April 24th I made the assumption that everyone would know they would continue to be paid.
Telework Forms: How can we streamline telework forms for 12 month employees? You only need to complete attachment 1 and 3 weekly after you have completed the entire packet for the first time.
Staff meetings: Are there to be regular scheduled staff meetings and or collaborative meetings and are they going to occur 9-1. How long should a staff meeting last? Weekend Email policy? We will continue with a once a month staff meeting just as outlined in the negotiated agreement. Teachers have asked can they collaborate with their colleagues in their school and we have agreed that this is permissible. All work should be done between the hours of 9 am – 1 pm to honor the fact that many of our teachers have families of their own they must support.
Click here to access the audio recording from the townhall.