Questions and Answers about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Per Governor Walz’s executive order, school closures will continue until at least May 4. With regards to how this impacts staff, the following expectations were outlined in his order:
“Staff shall return to school on May 1, 2020 to prepare for students' return to school on May 5, 2020.”
“If approved by the Executive Council, May 1 and May 4, 2020 may be counted as instructional days for purposes of meeting minimum days requirements and student contact hours.”
District leaders are still processing how these parameters might be implemented for MPS staff and will provide updates as they become available. The following information is updated as of April 3, 2020.
Questions posted on 4/3/20
1. EMPLOYEE PAY
a. Will MPS employees be paid during the Distance Learning time period outlined by the Governor?
Please see guidelines below for employee pay from April 6 through May 1:
● All employees who were scheduled to work between April 6 and May 1 will work onsite or via telework and will be paid for their scheduled hours. This includes hourly employees, cadre reserves, long-call substitutes, coaches, and Minneapolis Kids employees.
● Hourly employees who are currently working onsite to ensure adequate food distribution to our students and childcare for children of healthcare workers and first responders will continue to receive an additional $3 per hour. This includes employees continuing to work in jobs essential to keeping the district functioning in its current state, such as custodians, food service staff, bus drivers, trucking, materials handlers, childcare workers and IT staff distributing devices to students.
2. TIME ENTRY
a. How do I enter my hours during the Distance Learning time period?
As we enter into Distance Learning from April 6 - May 1, hourly employees should enter time as regular Hours. This includes Minneapolis Kids and Bus aide hours but does not include ALC hours.
It is the employee’s responsibility to enter time. Administrators/Time Approvers are responsible for verifying that their staff members have entered their time and approving time. If an employee is unable to enter their time, it is their responsibility to notify and work with their supervisor to ensure that their time is entered. It is the responsibility of the Administrator/Time Approvers to enter time on behalf of their employees if the employee is unable to do so.
Please note: Payroll staff can be contacted by their email or via the payroll email at Payroll@mpls.k12.mn.us.
b. How do I record my time when I am sick or need to take care of a family member who is sick?
If you are sick or caring for a sick family member and unable to telework or report to work onsite, please follow our regular process and enter your time in ESS.
If you are a teacher and are unable to participate in Distance Learning for the day due to personal or family illness, please let your administrator know as soon as possible so they can support class coverage for the day. Additionally, it is your responsibility to record your absence into AESOP. When you create your absence, please indicate that there is no substitute required.
c. What occurs when I am sick or need to take care of a family member who is sick but I do not have any remaining sick leave?
Employees are expected to use sick time when they are out for personal or family illness.
Hourly Employees: If you are sick and have no remaining sick time, please let your supervisor know and enter your regular hours for their approval.
Salaried Employees: If you are sick and have no remaining sick time, please let your supervisor know. You do not need to enter any absences.
d. What occurs when I need to be out of work for more than 11 consecutive days?
Please submit your leave request and supporting medical documentation to the Total Compensation Department (email@example.com)
3. TEACHERS & RELATED SERVICE PROFESSIONALS
a. Who will cover my Distance Learning class if I am absent for the day (short-call)?
Schools will cover daily absences. School leaders, site-based TOSAs, and grade-level or department-level and department team members will serve as supports for instruction during daily absences. Classroom ESPs will also support instruction throughout the Distance Learning time period with guidance from a licensed teacher.
Teachers should notify their team members of any daily absences. Grade and department level teams will collaborate with administration to determine coverage plans for office hours that may consist of both grade level and department team members or other school-based licensed staff. Team members are not required to cover office hours for an absent team member but may choose to support. If the team or department is not able to cover the absence, schools can leverage school based-TOSAs and other licensed staff who do not have a classroom assignment that day.
Note: Due to the fact that covering for an absence is not required, the District will not provide lost prep time payment.
If a school is unable to provide coverage for daily absences with school leader and TOSA support, the school leader can follow up with their Associate Superintendent for additional support.
b. Who will cover my class if I have planned to or need to take a leave of absence?
MPS will still be providing long-call reserve teachers for extended absences. HR will coordinate with current long-call teachers, as well as site and district-based TOSAs to support extended absences. Please reach out to Lynsey Sahli (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Benefits to coordinate any leave requests. In using current long- call teachers to pick up new or upcoming long call assignments, complete the long call request form and send the form to the Reserve Desk (email@example.com).
c. What do I need to do if I am absent for the day?
If you are unable to participate in distance learning for the day due to personal or family illness or due to the need to take a personal day, please let your administrator know as soon as possible so they can support class coverage for the day.
If you are still able to post a message and engage with your class, please let them know the situation. Take care of yourself and your family. This also may mean any live, synchronous learning may be moved to another day and time. Let students and families know they may not see as much activity for the day.
Additionally, it is your responsibility to record your absence into AESOP. When you create your absence, please indicate that there is no substitute required.
d. Are there modified roles for Special Education Assistants during Distance Learning?
Yes, in this time of Distance Learning, special education assistants will be continuing in their current role, as well as experiencing a modification of duties. These modifications are outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order:
Executive Order 20-19 would allow school districts and charter schools to continue reporting all state funded special education staff and contracted costs, including special education transportation costs, using the same UFARS funding string they would have otherwise been reported in, regardless of work performed during Distance Learning planning or the Distance Learning program. An example would be that a special education paraprofessional who, during Distance Learning planning or the Distance Learning program, is assigned to assist with cleaning, general education services, meal prep and/or delivery or is unable to work, will continue to be charged to state special education and eligible for state special education aid.
Modifications to the Special Education Assistant role are outlined below:
1. The first priority to provide instruction and engagement with students under the direction of a special education teacher,
2. The second priority is to assist with general education engagement and instructional needs as directed by the school principal.
3. Finally, you could be directed by Central Office to participate in duties that could include assisting in emergency day care setting, cleaning, and distribution of food, technology and other instructional materials.
e. Will I continue to have spring teacher observations?
MPS is waiting for guidance from MDE to develop guidance on teacher observations. Until further notice, teachers’ observations are on hold through at least Friday, April 24.
f. If I am a probationary teacher, will Distance Learning days count toward my 120 student contact days required for achievement of tenure (AofT)?
Yes, Distance Learning days will count toward student contact days and count toward achievement of tenure. This means Distance Learning days for classroom teachers will be automatically counted unless a classroom teacher enters an absence for illness or other reason. Probationary TOSAs and DPFs will need to continue to enter their Distance Learning student-contact time in the Absence Management System (formerly Aesop; see instructions here.) For more information, please see the Teacher Development AofT website or contact Jenny Smith at JenniferC.Smith@mpls.k12.mn.us
g. I need to renew my teaching license this year. Is the review committee still meeting to review relicensure packets?
All teachers who need to renew their teaching license should hold on to their applications until May 4th. The April 10 re-licensure committee meeting has been cancelled and the May 1 meeting will likely be postponed until after the Davis Center reopens. The May 29 meeting is still scheduled. Previously submitted applications will be reviewed when the Davis Center reopens. The relicensure committee has been in contact with PELSB and is awaiting further guidance.
h. I am a cooperating teacher hosting a student teacher. Are we continuing with student teaching partnerships in the Distance Learning model?
Whenever possible, continue to incorporate student teachers into your Distance Learning model and planning.
i. Will the retirement incentive continue?
Yes, the early retirement incentive program will continue. Eligible teachers who received information from the MPS Benefits team should submit by mail to the Davis Center. The two forms needed are the Application to Participate f orm and the Release of Claims form and were sent electronically to eligible employees on March 13th, 2020. Please note that both forms need to be notarized.
Please submit forms to the Davis Center:
Minneapolis Public Schools Benefits Department
1250 West Broadway Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55411
Once received, Benefits will email a confirmation to the employee. If you do not receive an email within seven business days from when the forms were mailed, please email Benefits. A second email will be sent to employees notifying them of their acceptance into the program once Benefits staff have reviewed completeness of the required documents and eligibility of applicants. Since the Davis Center has been closed, the Benefits team has not been in the office to answer phones. The best way to contact Benefits with any questions or concerns is to email Benefits@mpls.k12.mn.us.
j. Will my Pro Pay work continue for the remainder of the school year?
Yes, and the Q Comp Team is available to work with ProPay participants and instructors to make necessary adjustments and extensions needed to support Distance Learning for both students and adult professional development. Completed ProPay action research papers can still be submitted to the Q Comp Office at QComp@mpls.k12.mn.us; while reviewing and processing time has increased, passing papers are effective back to the date they were submitted. Current ProPay participants are encouraged to make adjustments to their action research plan to incorporate their Distance Learning work with students/clients to implement new skills and gather data as much as possible during Distance Learning. If implementing action research during Distance Learning is not possible, please contact Paul Hegre at Paul.Hegre@mpls.k12.mn.us or QComp@mpls.k12.mn.us to apply for an action research extension. The 2020-21 ProPay Catalog is now available and includes course descriptions and registration information. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Hegre at Paul.Hegre@mpls.k12.mn.us or QComp@mpls.k12.mn.us.
4. HIRING AND NEGOTIATIONS
a. Is the district hiring for current vacancies?
Currently the district is not hiring for current vacancies due to a severe delay in background checks as a result of court closures. We will continue to work with our background check provider and will provide updates to hiring managers as soon as possible. We will redeploy staff as needed to support critical vacancies.
b. Is the district hiring for school year 2020-21 vacancies?
Yes, MPS will continue to hire for the 2020-21 school year. The interview process will be online and managed by content area hiring managers.
c. Will Interview & Select take place virtually this year?
Yes, the Interview & Select process will still take place in April 2020 through virtual methods. The Talent Acquisition team is currently working to create a process for this and will communicate next steps once logistics are finalized.
d. Are union negotiations continuing?
Yes, negotiations are continuing virtually throughout spring of 2020.
a. How can I best support my staff during this time?
While teleworking, maintain regular communication with staff.
● Check in with all direct reports via email, phone or video conferencing
● Consider sending emails to staff to ensure alignment on the priorities
● For employees without access to devices or internet, please develop a check-in call procedure
● To the extent possible, maintain one-on-one check-ins and other routine team meetings. These should be held by telephone or virtually
● Be supportive and understanding of employees’ personal circumstances during this challenging time.
b. What should I do if I am unable to contact one of my staff members?
It is the expectation that all staff members are available and ready for work onsite or by telework during this time. In the event that you are unable to get in contact with one of your staff members, please connect with any emergency contacts that are on file for staff. If you still are not able to contact staff please track and record your attempts to contact the staff member and reach out to your Employee Relations contact for next steps.
6. EMPLOYEES WORKING ONSITE
a. Who is expected to report to work onsite?
MPS is committed to ensuring adequate food distribution to our students and childcare for children of healthcare workers and first responders. The district also needs to ensure continuity of operations. This work requires a number of employees to work onsite. This includes employees such as custodians, food service staff, bus drivers, trucking, materials handlers, childcare workers and IT staff distributing devices to students.
b. When should an employee who is working onsite not report to work?
● Employee is ill
● Employee is medically fragile
● Employee is living with or taking care of someone who is ill or is medically fragile
In this circumstance, please reach out to your direct supervisor and enter sick time.
c. Is there additional compensation as an employee completing essential functions?
Hourly employees who are currently working onsite to ensure adequate food distribution to our students and childcare for children of healthcare workers and first responders will continue to receive an additional $3 per hour. This includes employees continuing to work in jobs essential to keeping the district functioning in its current state, such as custodians, food service staff, bus drivers, trucking, materials handlers, childcare workers and IT staff distributing devices to students.
a. I am working from home now, who do I contact for help?
Teachers should reach out to their licensed library/media specialist or designated building staff member who can support technology questions. If this person is unable to answer the question, IT services support processes are still intact. The Service Desk and Field Techs are also working remotely to support our staff and students. If you have tech support needs, please contact the Service Desk by phone 612-668-0088 Monday through Friday 7:30am to 4pm, email; firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit a ticket online; http://webhelpdesk.mpls.k12.mn.us/
b. What are the supported video conferencing tools at MPS?
If you need remote meetings, chat, or video conferencing, MPS has two supported tools: Microsoft Teams desktop application and Google Meet. Google Meet has also recently been made available for teachers to video conference with students. Please continue to use these district supported platforms for communication with staff and students.
(Note: We understand some other organizations may use other tools like Zoom to initiate meetings with our staff. It is fine to connect to those meetings, but we expect MPS staff use our supported tools for initiating meetings to ensure our staff and student data privacy needs are met.)
c. What are the browser requirements for Google Meet?
Make sure you are using the latest version of Chrome.
d. Telephones: Can I use Google Voice?
Google Voice is not a supported tool in Google for Education and MPS user accounts. There is an option to call students and families privately through Google Meet. This will allow you to make outgoing calls only and without any caller ID as there is no phone number associated with these calls. Please see The Source for instructions on how to use Google Meet. Additionally, as always, we discourage the use of personal phones for communication with families. If you do use your personal cell phone, you can block your personal phone number by dialing *67 before dialing the number you are calling, this will temporarily block your number and show up as “Private Number” on caller ID.
During Distance Learning, families will still be able to call school phone numbers and leave voice messages. When they do, staff assigned to that line should receive an email notification of a new voicemail in their inbox. However, to ensure that messages are not missed, please check voicemails periodically throughout the day. Return parent/guardian messages as soon as possible, but no later than one day after a message was received.
f. How do I install software on my computer?
Highly-used district software is available to download in Self-Service (Macs) and Software Center (Windows). If you need software installed that is not available in Self-Service or Software Center, please submit a ticket.
g. Student Devices : A student needs a device for Distance Learning. How do they request a device?
MPS has conducted a district-wide survey with follow-up calls from schools to determine which students need a device and internet access. Devices are currently being distributed and will continue until all distance learning materials have been distributed. If families did not respond to the survey and need a device, they can fill out this form.
h. The Chromebook is showing a blank screen and the student cannot log in.
If the Chromebook is showing a blank screen instead of a login, try turning the device off and then restarting. If the issue persists, the student may need a replacement device. Contact the Service Desk for assistance or submit a ticket.
i. What resources are available for teachers?
Please see the Distance Learning Resources page for information, training opportunities, and a teacher help form. Teachers can also visit The Source for additional information.
j. How do I do a screen capture video?
Please download OBS: Open Broadcaster Software, the supported screen capture software, from Self Service (Mac) or Software Center (Windows).
k. A student is having trouble accessing Distance Learning content. How do they receive support?
If students are having difficulty with an app that is part of a lesson their teacher assigned, please have them reach out to the teacher first. If the teacher is unable to solve the issue, then please reach out to the help desk. The Design and Training Team will also be setting up a student/family public site that will provide information and guidance for students’ online learning. Currently, this is on The Source for teachers to share with students.
l. How do I reset a student’s password if they are not able to log in?
Library and Media specialists are able to reset passwords using the “Manage Student Emails” function in eHelpDesk. If your media specialist is not able to assist with password resets, please call the help desk.
m. Can I use YouTube videos in Google Classroom?
YouTube has been unblocked in restricted mode for students. This means students can watch YouTube videos you embed into your Google Classroom posts and assignments, but only if the teacher has made sure the video is allowed for viewing. Click here to learn how to allow videos for students
n. My student can’t log into Lexia Core 5 on their Kindle Fire.
Kindle is not a supported system for Lexia. Supported systems are listed here. If a family only has a Kindle Fire and needs a different device, please have them complete the Needs for Remote Learning survey.
8. EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP)
Who should I or employees reach out to if they are in need of professional support?
If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress and need support, reach out to MPS’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP). All MPS benefit-eligible employees have access to free, confidential counseling available 24/7 through the Sand Creek Employee Assistance Program.
9. TELEWORK GUIDANCE
MPS is aware that the impact of COVID-19 on employees will be different based on each employee’s unique situation. Employees should work with their manager to ensure that their remote work plans are feasible. The work may look different based on role and the length of the closure.
Employees are expected to be working throughout the school closures, nearly all remotely via telework. Exceptions include:
● Employees who are required to report to work for childcare, food delivery and other core functions for continuity of operations
● Employees whose work is non-essential and cannot access their work while at home. These employees may be assigned other duties to perform from home by their managers, if applicable
● Employees who are sick or otherwise occupied with dependent care While teams are remote, individuals should prioritize (in this order):
1. Maintaining focus on the primary objectives of their job, to the greatest extent possible.
2. Supporting other teams in order to provide critical service delivery to students, alumni, and families.
3. Frontloading work that is scoped for the future so that any postponed work will not cause a capacity strain when schools reopen.
1. Teachers should follow all guidelines from MPS’ Academic office around Distance Learning parameters and instructional delivery for their content area.
2. Staff must be available during their normal working hours (unless sick/using sick leave), checking email at least once a day and any messages from site leaders.
3. Engage with parents and students, including responding to electronic and telephone communication.
4. Refer to the Source for additional Distance Learning and role-specific training.
b. Education Support Personnel (ESPs)
1. Staff must be available during their normal working hours (unless sick/using sick leave) , checking email at least once a day and any messages from site leaders.
2. Engage with parents and students, including responding to electronic and telephone communication.
3. Refer to the Source for additional Distance Learning and role-specific training.
4. Staff should collaborate with teachers and administrators to support Distance Learning.
Potential supports from MDE’s March 24th School Closure guidance include:
a. Organize student work to send home.
b. Develop sensory activities that can be done at home.
c. Plan movement activities that can be done at home for a break. Create videos to demonstrate. Support childcare sites as needed.
c. Special Education Assistants (SEAs)
1. Staff must be available during their normal working hours (unless sick/using sick leave) , checking email at least once a day and any messages from site leaders.
2. Provide instruction and engagement with students under the direction of a special education teacher.
3. Assist with general education engagement and instructional needs as directed by the school principal.
4. Possible direction by Central Office to participate in duties that could include assisting in emergency day care setting, cleaning, and distribution of food, technology and other instructional materials.
10. FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
Employer Expanded Family and Medical Leave Requirements
The FFCRA has expanded FMLA provisions as follows:
Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.
Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Qualifying Reasons for Leave:
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
5. Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
Duration of Leave:
For reasons (1)-(4): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.
For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
Frequently Asked Questions
a. If I am currently being paid to telework by MPS, do I need to apply for leave?
No. The new paid leave provisions of the FFCRA only apply to individuals who are unable to work due to COVID-19 OR have to care for family members infected by COVID-19 or whose child care has been impacted by COVID-19 closures. If you are working remotely and not affected you will continue to receive your regular pay rate.
b. How do I apply for this leave benefit?
You would apply through the same process as a regular Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) request.
c. Do I need to use my sick leave hours before qualified leave starts?
No, employers are specifically prohibited from requiring employees to use up other offered leave before using the FFCRA Leave. This qualified leave is in addition to the benefits already provided. MPS cannot require an employee to use sick leave prior to receiving paid sick time under the FFCRA. In other words, the law specifically allows employees to choose the order in which they take their leave.
d. Can an employee take 80 hours of paid sick leave for a self-quarantine and then another amount of paid sick leave for another reason provided under the FFCRA ?
No. An employee may take up to two weeks—or ten days— (80 hours for a full-time employee, or for a part-time employee, the number of hours equal to the average number of hours that the employee works over a typical two-week period) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons. However, the total number of hours for which an employee receives paid sick leave is capped at 80 hours under the FFCRA.
e. If an employee is home with a child because the child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, is the employee eligible for paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, or both?
An employee may be eligible for both types of leave, but only for a total of twelve (12) weeks of paid leave. An employee may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. The FFCRA provides for an initial two (2) weeks of paid leave. This period covers the first ten (10) workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the FMLA unless the employee chooses to use existing vacation, personal, or medical/sick leave under the employer’s policy. After the first ten (10) workdays have elapsed, the employee will receive 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the hours the employee would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent ten weeks under the FFCRA.
An employee can only receive the additional ten (10) weeks of expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA for leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
f. Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave?
No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten (10) days.
g. Are the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?
h. What documentation should I provide MPS as part of my leave request?
An employee seeking leave to provide basic information such as the employee’s name, qualifying reason for leave, a statement that the employee is unable to work (including telework) due to that qualifying reason and the dates(s) for which the leave is requested. The employee must also provide appropriate documentation such as a copy of the relied upon quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or written documentation by a health care provider advising the employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
A notice of closure that has been posted on a government, school or day care website, a newspaper notice or an email from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider would be sufficient.
i. If MPS closed a worksite and ceased paying an employee prior April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), can the employee still obtain paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?
No. If MPS closed and ceased paying employees prior to April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA) because it does not have work for its employees, employees will not get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave. However, employees may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
j. If MPS closes and ceased paying an employee on or after April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), but before employees are on leave, will employees still be eligible for paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?
No. If MPS closed and ceased paying an employee after the FFCRA’s effective date and employees are not yet on leave, employees will not get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave.
k. If MPS closes while employees are on paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, what happens?
If MPS closes while employees are on paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, MPS will pay for any paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave used by employees prior to the closing. As of the date an employer closes, employees are no longer entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave.
l. If employees’ scheduled work hours are reduced, can employees use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to make up the difference?
No. If MPS reduces work hours because it does not have work for you to perform, employees cannot use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to make up for the hours employees are no longer scheduled to work.
m. May MPS require an employee to supplement or adjust the pay mandated under the FFCRA with paid leave that the employee may have under my paid leave policy?
No. Under the FFCRA, only the employee may decide whether to use existing paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave from your paid leave policy to supplement the amount your employee receives from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave. The employee would have to agree to use existing paid leave under your collective bargaining agreement to supplement or adjust the paid leave under the FFCRA.
Questions posted on 3/15/20
Will other district offices and buildings be closed if schools are closed?
As of Tuesday, March 17, all district schools and the Student Placement Services Office will be closed to the public but staff will still have access on that day (with the exception of the Davis Education Center; see below for more information on Davis).
While the Student Placement Office will be closed, enrollment and customer service will be available to answer questions online and over the phone. Minneapolis Kids sites will be closed and all Minneapolis Community Education classes are cancelled as well. Athletic activities have already been cancelled by the Minnesota State High School League.
Starting Wednesday, March 18, the Davis Educational Center at 1250 W. Broadway Ave. will be closed to the public through at least April 5 to support the health and safety of our central office staff. All previously scheduled meetings at Davis -- both MPS and non-MPS -- have been canceled or moved to an online format through April 5. Decisions about meetings of our Board of Education will be announced at a later date.
Will employees still get paid if their school is closed due to COVID-19?
Similar to closures due to weather, MPS will pay employees their regular pay for the number of days Governor Walz has recommended school districts close schools. On Sunday, March 15 the Governor announced that all of Minnesota’s PreK-12 schools will be closed for at least eight school days starting Wednesday, March 18 through March 27.
We will continue to work with the governor and legislature to secure salary reimbursements for any additional school closure days.
Who should report to work when schools are closed for COVID-19?
Similar to closures due to weather, essential employees are responsible for reporting to work. Once reported, your supervisor will determine staffing needs. As the COVID-19 situation evolves in our community, we may reevaluate who we consider as “essential employees” and move to reduce the number of staff who will continue to work; we will update staff when/if this decision is made.
Every effort will be made to minimize the health risk to staff. Certain staff members will be expected to report to ensure student safety, continuity of operations and timely return to normal operations.
The Director of Transportation will designate specific staff such as drivers, schedulers, mechanics and managers to report.
The Director of Culinary and Wellness will designate specific staff such as managers, warehouse, drivers, distribution staff, administrators, production staff, production cooks, coordinators, food service assistants and cooks to report to be available to receive and make deliveries, as well as prepare and deliver food for distribution for students at specific community locations.
Central office staff, including hourly employees, are expected to telework to ensure continuity of operations.
All other staff involved in managing emergency functions in the school district (chiefs; associate superintendents; executive director of facilities; maintenance and operations director; staff in Communications and Emergency Management, Safety and Security) must be available or designate a suitable replacement.
Special circumstances may dictate that other employees may be expected to report to work to assist with the specific situation if safe to do so. Such employees will be notified directly by their supervisor.
Will contracted coaches still get paid if schools are closed and game practices are cancelled due to COVID-19?
MPS will honor coach contracts and coaches will get paid during the period of school closures even if game practices are cancelled/suspended.
What happens if we close and staff had pre-approved leave?
Similar to closures due to weather events, pre-approved leaves will be reported as they were originally applied for.
Staff payment process in the event of school closures
What will happen to employee pay when schools and district offices are closed for COVID-19?
All employees who were scheduled to work on a day that school is closed due to COVID-19 and who are told not to report to work will be paid as if they worked their scheduled assignment.
Employees who had already reported being ill will be charged for a sick leave day. Employees who previously were approved for vacation will be charged for a vacation day. Employees on unpaid leave will be on unpaid time.
Any staff member who is expected to report to work during a school closing and is unable to do so must contact his or her immediate supervisor.
Employees who are normally paid for specific fee-driven activities (such as Community Education classes, daycare, drivers’ education, etc.) but do not have an ongoing work schedule will not be paid for scheduled work time during a school closing.
Independent contract consultants will not be paid for services not performed unless specifically outlined in their consultant contract.
How should employees enter time when school is closed due to COVID-19?
A. Employees who were scheduled to work on a day that school is closed due to
COVID-19 and who are told not to report to work and/or telework will be paid as if they worked their scheduled assignment. This does not include extended time for after school programming or hiring hall employees. Please enter your time as if you worked.
B. Employees who have already reported being ill will be charged for a sick leave day.
Please enter your time as a sick leave day.
C. Employees who previously were approved for vacation will be charged for a vacation
day. Please enter your time as a vacation day.
D. Employees on unpaid leave will be on unpaid time. Please enter your time as unpaid
E. Any employee who is expected to report to work during a school closing and is
unable to do so must contact his or her immediate supervisor.
F. Employees who are normally paid for specific fee-driven activities (such as
Community Education classes, daycare, drivers’ education, etc.), but do not have an ongoing work schedule will not be paid for scheduled work time during a school closing. Do not enter your time.
G. Independent contract consultants will not be paid for services not performed unless
specifically outlined in their consultant contract. Please make sure your budget specialist checks their invoice when submitted.
H. If you cannot enter your time, please work directly with your supervisor to ensure
your time is entered in a timely way.
Questions posted on 3/13/20
How can I prevent the potential spread of germs?
Teachers are encouraged to dedicate time in their classrooms to focus on the importance of washing hands and covering coughs. The Health Services website has additional resources to refer to as needed.
Continue to implement standard precautions when working with students (i.e. wear gloves when hands are likely to be soiled with blood or body fluids, follow diapering/toileting procedures, etc.). If you have questions about standard precautions or need access to personal protective equipment please contact your supervisor.
Additional cleaning supplies (spray bottles with pre-mixed solution, paper towels and gloves) will be available in the main office of your school if you would like to use them. Our Plant Operations Department is working closely with their custodial engineers to ensure standard cleaning procedures are enhanced with additional attention to regularly touched items in common spaces in our schools, such as light switches and door knobs.
Should I bring in my own outside cleaning supplies?
Employees should not bring in their own cleaning supplies. Supplies will be available in the main office if school staff would like to disinfect high-touch surfaces in their classroom or office. Supplies will be made available by Tuesday, March 17.
Plant Operations will maintain inventory of approved detergent/disinfectant solutions, disposable towels, and protective gloves at each MPS school/site. Custodians will prepare detergent/disinfectant solution from concentrate in pre-labeled spray bottles (approximately 10 per site).
Custodial staff disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in corridors and common areas. Classrooms are done every other day. High-touch surfaces include doors, door handles, door push bars, light switches, faucet handles, handrails, elevator buttons, vending machines, etc.
Sick Time Procedures
What should MPS staff do if they don’t feel well?
If staff experience fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, they should stay home from school or their workplace and contact their health care provider immediately.
A health support phone line is available to MPS staff who have questions regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus). The support line is provided through the District’s health provider, CorVel, and is operated 24/7. Nurses and physicians are available to provide employees with the most current information related to COVID prevention and treatment options.
There is no cost to use the line. MPS Staff Support Line: 855.283.271
How should schools and departments track and report staff absences on Monday, March 16?
At this time, staff should be entering their absences via current protocols. MPS will be asking school leaders and department heads to monitor staff and student absenteeism to:
● Ensure schools have adequate support
● Observe and report staff and student absence trends
What will happen to employee time if there is a quarantine?
If an MPS employee is required to quarantine by a government agency, the employee will receive pay for the days required in quarantine and days gone during this time will not count as absences.
I have MPS-sponsored travel booked, can I still go?
All MPS sponsored travel has been cancelled from now until the end of the year as a preventative measure. Trips booked through Concur will be cancelled centrally from the Davis Center; individual employees will still need to cancel hotels (and other accommodations such as car rentals) booked outside of Concur and related conference registrations.
At this time, travel should not be rebooked for a later date. Further communication will be shared as we receive additional information. No further travel should be planned or scheduled.
School Closures and Staff Expectations
Are school activities and before/after school activities being cancelled?
As of March 13, here is the following status on which activities or programs are being closed or cancelled. We are now recommending additional interventions including:
● Reducing the frequency of large gatherings in our schools. Schools will cancel after- school activities such as:
○ Inter-district events
○ Field trips
○ School assemblies
● Minimize multiple classes interacting together
● Minimize volunteers and visitors in your building
● Creating plans for distance learning for medically fragile students
MPS activities that will continue as long as school is still in session:
● School day assemblies
● Extended Day/ALC
● Minneapolis Kids
● Adult Education
● Youth Enrichment
● Clinics and school based mental health
● Academic support for students with teachers
● Staff/Teacher-Led Clubs
MPS Athletics: Game cancellations are determined by the Minnesota State High School League and tournaments have been cancelled; please visit their website for details. Schools determine practices. See your school’s athletic director for questions.
Will employees still get paid if their school is closed due to COVID-19?
This is an unprecedented pandemic situation. If MPS closes the school district due to COVID-19, we remain committed to our employees and we are exploring all options in order to ensure continuation of pay. Outside of financial support from the government, this will be an incredible hardship for the district, especially while we face significant budget deficits.
We will continue to work with the governor and legislature to secure full salary reimbursements for all school closure days.