April 12, 2020
NEWSETTE
Information is Power
Inside this Newsette:

  • PGCEA President Update
  • Distance Learning F.A.Q's
  • Tele-Town Hall Audio
  • Upcoming Events
  • Scholarship Application Deadline Extended

Coronavirus (COVID 19) Updates
*PGCEA Offices will be closed March 16-April 24th. Should you need help staff is available by phone 301-736-2700 and email at contacts@pgcea.org  

April 12, 2020

Greetings!

Happy Holidays to everyone. This is a holy week to many faiths. I know keeping a distance from family members is challenging and heartbreaking, but it is best because we are finding out that there are more newly reported cases of the CORVID 19 in Prince George’s than any other county in the state as of this week. Please stay home unless you need provisions. It is not a game and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is now requiring everyone to wear a mask when out in public beginning April 15.

Attached to this Newsette are some of the most frequently asked questions submitted to contacts@pgcea.org . PGCEA will be meeting with administration this week to discuss the implementation of the PGCPS Distance Learning and its impact on our members. Much of what we would like to know, we don’t because much of the decisions rely on Maryland State Department of Education and the Governor.


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.
• A joint PGCEA and PGCPS team met on Friday March 27. We will reconvene 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/

• 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. You should be able to sign up for classes through MYPPS.
• 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.


Modified 2019-20 School Calendar
March 30th : End of 3rd quarter marking period. 
March 30th – April 3rd : Students turn in completed assignments. Students unable to submit assignment form 3/16-3/27 will not be counted against them and grade will be entered as exempt.
April 6-8: Teachers will input grades in to SchoolMax for 3rd Quarter. April 6-8 will be considered work days without children. They are grading and planning days. No student instruction during these days. The days will count in toward the 180 days in the state and our contractual 192 days.
April 9th, 10th and April 13th : Non-duty days for Teachers
April 14th : Fourth quarter and online learning will begin
April 17th Distance Learning Team meets with PGCPS
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 that's fine, 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:
• 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 teleworking 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
President
Tele-Town Hall with The PGCPS CEO

Last week we had a coronavirus tele-townhall if you missed it you can listen to the entire recording by clicking the button below.


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.


UPCOMING EVENTS
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.