April 19, 2020
Information is Power
Inside this Newsette:

  • PGCEA President Update
  • Community Schools Workshop
  • Self Care Tips
  • Distance Learning F.A.Q's
  • Upcoming Events
  • Scholarship Application Deadline Extended

Coronavirus (COVID 19) Updates
*PGCEA Offices will be closed March 16-May 15th. Should you need help staff is available by phone 301-736-2700 and email at contacts@pgcea.org  

April 19, 2020


The COVID-19 Emergency Shutdown Continues-Public Schools Closed until May 15th.
After four weeks of being home, and one week of Distance Learning under our belts, I want to first thank all of our members for the work you have completed in professional development online and in setting up your Google classrooms. 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 contacts@pgcea.org, from emails to UNIServs and calls from members. 

Issues included the following:

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 helpdesk@pgcps.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 15 th Proposed School Closure ends
·       June 2 nd : 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 9 th : Last day for students
·       June 11 th : last day for 10 month employees
*May receive a waiver for March 16-27 th (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/

Video Visits
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:

Please remind your circle of influence that while this is an emergency, PGCEA is available Monday-Friday 9AM-5 PM. 301-736-2700 or contacts@pgcea.org . We have set up a Corona Virus page on www.pgcea.org

Stay safe, practice social distancing of 6 feet, and if you feel you need to get tested, call your primary care provider.

In solidarity,
Theresa Mitchell Dudley
Online Workshop

A ctivate new design thinking and delivery of instruction as well as communication while we are operating with our home as the school, classroom, and office. Recognizing your own parameters and what that might be for your students. This is a time for learning in different/diverse realms.

B e mindful and breathe. Let us not forget that actions speak volume and can trigger behavior. As distance learning brings us to a new home engagement both with students and parents, this brings a matter of equity into play as well. Consider carefully curriculum conveyance and what is expected in your constructive response as the playing field is not level. Be thoughtful and then do better than you thought.

C entering is part of work – life balance. We can sometimes lose our center as we strive to  convey lessons or provide services in this new work realm while still managing day to day personal and professional life. Perhaps this is no more so now in the time of quarantine, social distancing and distance learning. Such can create a sense of imbalance and questioning. Quite frankly, though this may not be as abnormal as one might suspect. It’s part of our coping mechanisms.

D istance learning doesn’t need to distance you from supports and resources. This should not be a suffer in silence undertaking. Reach out and seek out assistance. Colleagues can be a fount of information and some well contend comfort as a fellow professional. You may well afford them an opportunity to convey or showcase a skillset. There is a good deal of online info and tools.     

E motions in these unprecedented times can run a spectrum. Predicated on past or present situations (trauma) can cause behavior of adults and students to manifest behavior in various ways from an intense introvert to anger and hostility. We must be mindful of ourselves (breathe, reflect, center) in how we can be constructive in our interactions and deescalate undesirable situation.  

Should you have some helpful tips that you would to like share with your colleagues, please send us your photo (optional) and some verbiage on what you do to help you overcome barriers during this pandemic to contacts@pgcea.org with subject “We Are in This Together”. PGCEA will spotlight as many entries as we can in our next Newsette! Let’s keep the momentum going!

PGCEA Distance Learning FAQs

The following answers to frequently asked questions from PGCEA members are based on the current Negotiated Agreement, the PGCPS Teacher/School Staff Distance Learning Guide and responses to PGCEA from the CEO and other school system leaders. Due to the existing Covid-19 health emergency and a continually evolving situation this document may be updated as needed.
Pay and Benefits
Will pay and benefits continue to be provided after April 24?
Yes, pay and benefits will continue uninterrupted through the closure. If the state superintendent decides to reopen schools, Unit I members will be back at work per agreement, if schools remain closed after April 24 distance learning will remain in place and Unit I members’ pay and benefits will continue as scheduled. 
Will emoluments be paid for this school year?
Yes, Unit I members who signed contracts for emoluments should document their time and submit information to their supervisors as always. If a member is coaching a spring sport or involved in another activity that occurs largely during the fourth quarter, they must document any work done prior to the closure of school. PGCEA is still in discussion with the administration regarding spring sports and other emoluments that largely occur after the start of the school shutdown.
If the school year is extended into the summer will Unit I members be paid for that time?
The PGCPS calendar was revised on 3/27/20. The end of the school year for students is June 9 th and for teachers June 11 th . 10-month Unit I members are contracted to work 192 days during a school year. The calendar was adjusted at the Emergency Board of Education meeting. At this time we are hoping that with Distance Learning in place we will not have an extention.
Will PGCPS stop student loan garnishments on employee pay as required under the federal CARES Act? When will this begin?
Yes, deductions for student loan garnishments will stop. Any Unit I member who is still having garnishments for college loans taken from their paychecks for time worked after March 13 should contact the PGCPS payroll department about stopping those payments and obtaining reimbursements for wage taken after the order was issued by the Federal Department of Education.

Are there any provisions for Unit I members who have school aged children or babies at home that make completing distance learning requirements unfeasible?
PGCEA negotiated with PGCPS for a 9 am – 1 PM schedule for that purpose. If you find it impossible to complete your work, Unit 1 members can take family medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The act includes expanded Family Medical Leave (FMLA) providing paid FMLA leave to employees who have been employed for at least 30 days and are unable to work or telework because they are needed to care for a child under the age of 18 due to school closures or child care unavailability resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first 10 days of this FMLA leave may be unpaid ; but thereafter the leave must be paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 total per employee. This is not in addition to contractual leave or regular FMLA provisions. In other words, if an employee meets the qualifying conditions for expanded family medical leave related to the COVID-19 pandemic then it applies; in all other cases, the normal qualifications must be met in order to qualify for regular FMLA or other contractual leave benefits. Interested employees should contact HR for more information about this option.
Duty Day
What is the required duty day for Unit I members?
The work hours for 10 & 11- month Unit I employees are 9am – 1pm. This aligns with the PGCPS Teacher/School Staff Distance Learning Guide. This time is for teaching virtual lessons, providing student services, instructional planning, and office hours. Additionally, Unit I members should be monitoring and responding to emails 9 am -1 pm.
How often can principals have virtual staff and other required meetings outside of work hours?
The language from Article 8 of the negotiated agreement regarding meetings is still in effect. Principals can schedule two faculty meetings per month outside of the duty day, that shall last no longer than one hour beyond the student day (9:00am -1:00pm). Teachers are to be given at least 48 hours advance notice of meetings unless there is an emergency. We are in an emergency but please monitor.

Distance Learning
Can principals and other supervisors require Unit I members give them access to Google Classrooms and other distance learning platforms used for distance learning?
Yes, principals and supervisors can require access to Google Classroom and other platforms that are being used to teach students. Teachers are reminded the system can see anything done on a system provided computer or related platform. Parameters regarding principal/supervisor access will be discussed by the PGCPS/PGCEA Distance Learning Committee. They are not allowed to change your Google Classroom.

How will student and Unit I member privacy be maintained during live streamed lessons or when providing student services?
Students and Unit I members are not to be recorded without their express permission; for students that includes parent permission. Live streamed classes or other interactions with students should not be recorded. The PGCEA/PGCPS Distance Learning Committee will have further discussions on the issue of employee/student privacy and security. If you object to being videotaped, please provide your administrator with an alternative.

What platforms should/can teachers use to assist students? Can any alternative online instructional resources be used? (i.e. Khan Academy, etc.)
Unit I members should use platforms approved for use by the school system such as Google Classroom and Class Dojo. If a member is unsure if a platform or resource has been approved, they should check with their principal, supervisor or curriculum specialist. Professional Development on the various platforms is ongoing. Check you MYPPS.

What is expected of non-classroom-based employees? (i.e. ILTs, Resource teachers, Reading Specialists, Infant and Toddler Program staff etc.)
See the PGCPS Teacher/School Staff Distance Learning Guide. The PGCPS/PGCEA Distance Learning Committee will be discussing refinements and adjustments to address the many questions related to these job classifications.

Can principals require live recordings if teachers prefer recorded lessons or other methods posted for students to access?
No, Teachers who do not wish to utilize live streamed lessons should contact their principal with the format they plan to use to meet the requirements specified in the PGCPS Teacher/School Staff Distance Learning Guide.

What should teachers provide for instruction for pre-K students who don’t have Chromebooks?
Teachers should follow the information in the PGCPS Teacher School Staff Distance Learning Guide for Pre-K. Additional questions should be directed to program specialists and principals. More information is forthcoming.

Evaluation, Certification and Teacher Tenure
Will current requirements for maintaining a Maryland certificate for 2019-2020 school year be extended? Will this include those on Conditional Certificates?
We are awaiting a decision by the Maryland State Department of Education about extending certifications requirements for teachers including those on conditional certificates. PGCEA will share information with members as any adjustments are made. MSEA requested MSDE grant a one-year extension of certification requirements due to the shutdown of schools.
If possible, members should continue to complete courses to meet certification requirements.
Additionally, members can contact the PGCPS certification office regarding individual questions regarding their status at certification@pgcps.org
What will happen to teachers that are on-cycle for evaluation this school year?
Currently evaluation activities have been suspended due to the shutdown and we are awaiting further guidance from MSDE and PGCPS. Formal observations will not be a part of distance learning. Please complete your 4E if you have not to have your evaluation complete. We are working on the ability to have the completed Evaluations for those tenured on cycle count.

What will be the status of teachers who are on schedule to be tenured at the start of the 2020-21 school year?
We are awaiting guidance from PGCPS and the Maryland State Department of Education regarding tenure status for next year.

All PGCEA Events are Canceled
Until Further Notice

*some committee chairs may have meetings via zoom conference call.
Scholarship Application Deadline Extended
Get involved! Join a committee.