To enforce the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s directives for social gatherings, the Crane School District governing board conducted its April meeting via Vimeo (a video streaming platform) Tuesday evening.
Prior to the regular meeting, the board convened in an executive session for a discussion of salaries and benefits for district personnel.
IMPACT OF COVID-19
Within the district, COVID-19 has had an effect on technology, instruction, nutrition, transportation and district spending, among other areas.
According to Superintendent Laurie Doering, over 2,000 iPads have been distributed to families for distance learning. The district plans to reclaim these devices, which are managed by the district’s information technology department, by the middle of May.
Through the district’s grab-and-go meal locations, the student nutrition department has served over 120,000 meals to area students since school closures began March 16. According to Doering, the transportation fleet has also been used to deliver meals and instructional packets to the district’s self-contained special education students and their siblings.
Last week’s return from spring break brought students, parents and teachers back together, albeit virtually, to adapt to the new distance learning method. Teachers have provided assignments through various platforms including Google Classroom and Seesaw, as well as through paper-based handouts. However, due to the “potential of viral transmission,” Doering said teachers will not be accepting any completed paper-based assignments; students may take a photo of the completed assignment to submit to their teacher.
“I am fiercely proud of everyone’s ability to do what was needed to continue with our students’ education,” Doering said.
As speculative forecasts for school funding projects a $1.1 billion shortfall for the upcoming year, the district has implemented measures for fiscal management, reserving funds for essential spending only.
“Although the projections are too uncertain to develop definitive plans for resolving the shortfall in a very near term, we’re monitoring this information as it’s made available to us,” Doering said. “Therefore, we have implemented an immediate spending freeze for any nonessential supply, material or services. We remain committed to provide the adjustment for teachers and all other staff in alignment with 20x2020, but we’re concerned about the potential impact for the fiscal year 2021.”
NEW EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROPOSAL
The first reading of new Governing Board JLCG presented a proposed medical response policy to provide clear guidance to staff, administration and families when a child attending a Crane school has an active do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order in place.
“There are, and potentially will be, children attending Crane schools that have physician-approved do-not-resuscitate orders generated and filed by the parent or guardian to these children,” said President Sarah Claridge. “Given that Crane Elementary School District is not a licensed healthcare institution as defined in Arizona Revised Statute 36-401, the DNR orders do not apply to Crane Elementary School District schools or their staff.”
Under the proposed policy, district staff and administration would meet together with the students’ families to review the students’ DNR health plan. In the event of a medical emergency, staff is guided to call 911; while parents and guardians are advised to file “any and all” DNR orders with local first responders. As state law for DNR orders are not applicable to school districts, should a staff member administer life saving procedures to a student who has an active DNR order, the district and its staff would be “held harmless,” according to both Doering and Assistant Superintendent Michael Hoffman.
“We felt that it was very important to have something in policy, because we have not up until this time and we have had a couple of parents request this,” said Doering. “We felt like it needed to be outlined and clearly stated what we would do if this were to occur.”
A second reading and consideration to adopt the policy will be presented at the board’s next meeting, slated for Tuesday, May 12.
2020-2021 COMPENSATION PACKAGES
An annual 2.75% increase to all eligible staff salaries was approved by the board. Additionally, substitute teachers will remain at $95 per day, and graduating college seniors who are currently employed with Crane and unable to complete their testing due to campus closures will be paid $190 per day until they become certified.
The original compensation proposal, which was a 5% increase to all staff’s salaries, will be reviewed at the June governing board meeting.
PROFESSIONAL/SUPPORT STAFF PAID LEAVE
As of April 1, the district is mandated by the federal government to follow new employer requirements due to the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, which includes 14-day paid leave provided by the district to employees affected by the pandemic. To comply, the board adopted adjustments to Revised Governing Board Policy GCCA under professional and support staff sick leave.
ESS PRESCHOOL CALENDAR
A new 2020-2021 calendar for the district’s extended school services (ESS) preschools was adopted by the board to include the required 144 school days, with school being in session all day on Wednesdays and non-student days occurring on Fridays to align with Great Beginnings and WACOG preschools’ calendars. The adjustments also include revising “June 2020” to “June 2021” on the calendar.
Tuesday’s recorded meeting and/or minutes are available at craneschools.org and the district’s Facebook page, @craneschools.