Teachers, support staff to be paid, board says

Despite a change in how children will be taught for the remainder of the school year, teachers and support staff in the Yukon School District will continue to be paid.
The school board, meeting for the first time in a virtual setting, approved a 73-day emergency leave agreement on Wednesday.
The agreement would last through June 30, which also is the final day of the current fiscal year and when most contracts expire.
Superitendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said the goal is to make sure the district’s employees continue to get paid, though most will be working in a nontraditional environment.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, on Wednesday, received approval from the state school board to implement a distance-learning program.
That agreement keeps schools across the state locked in an effort to reduce the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simeroth, meeting with the school board in a special session, said he and staff are working to determine the best way to implement the plan.
School is to resume on April 6, he said. However, the buildings themselves will not be open to the public.
Under the agreement, the school board agreed to waive board policies allowing the superintendent to take any actions necessary to ensure the continuation of public education, and to provide for the health and safety of students and employees.
That includes making adjustments, as necessary, to the curriculum and alternative educational options.
In addition, Simeroth will have the authority to adjust the schedules of employees and can modify the school calendar as necessary, the resolution states.
Another aspect of the resolution was to ensure that the district could continue to provide meals to students.
Also, the panel gave Simeroth the authority to apply for any state or federal funds that might be available.
The resolution also authorized Simeroth to grant emergency leave for up to 73 days. Those dates will not be charged against sick leave.
The board also gave Simeroth the authority to enter into necessary contracts without prior approval of the school board.
However, that authority is limited to needs related to the COVID-19 emergency situation.
Simeroth said while some support personnel may not work between now and June 30, most will be expected to work on site at least some.
However, the district is doing what it can to ensure the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are followed.
“Things are very fluid,” Simeroth told the board.
The other issue approved during Wednesday’s meeting involved policies related to holding meetings via teleconference.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first meeting held in a virtual setting since Gov. Kevin Stitt signed legislation amending the state’s Open Meeting Law.
The amendment is only in place until November or until the end of the current emergency situation, whichever occurs first.
Under the policy, the virtual meetings can only be held for special meetings, and the agenda must list whether the board members are attending virtually.
In addition, the public must have the ability to view the meetings.
Wednesday’s session was broadcast via Facebook Live.

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