The past six months have changed our everyday lives in many ways. One of the biggest changes has been on our educational settings. It is more important than ever that our employees and parents are clear on district expectations for protecting staff and students' health. There have always been stories about the “Iron Man” employees and students who never miss a day. A perfect attendance policy is not always a reminder of the importance of education but more likely the reluctance at some point to not be ill. In a pandemic, that logic does not work so well.
If a district has not already explained to parents, students and employees that if you are ill you need to stay home, it is time to have that discussion. Most boards in the state adopted some form of their discussion on keeping school open and remediation steps to take for shutting it down. You may need to remind parents and employees of this policy more often as we move into flu season and as challenges increase in keeping districts open.
It's important that district leaders help employees understand how their leave will work in quarantine and the importance of protecting everyone's health by monitoring their own. It is also necessary that they understand the district must follow adopted board policy when the pandemic becomes an issue for the district. If an administrator is not following the board's adopted policy, they are working outside their contract and are probably removing themselves from insured protection. If the board fails to follow their own policy, they may not have complete insurance protection either.
This is a hard time, but if we work together, we can make it through. If you run into an issue that is convoluted and difficult, contact the OK Department of Health. If they don’t give you an answer, keeping asking until you find someone who can.
I don’t know if you ever had to figure out how to explain to your parents about exactly why you had a “C” in a subject, but I did. It was not pleasant, and my explanation did little to assuage their fear that their eldest child was about to get less than an “A."
Happy 2016!! As I welcome in the new year, I always begin the “cleanse”–going through closets and chunking items I no longer want or that fit, ridding the kitchen cabinets of expired food and actually wiping off the refrigerator shelves (can finally see them after all of the holiday food is out). I know for many this is a time of the 21-day “diet-cleanse,” renewed gym memberships and even the 21-day “financial cleanse.”
A collection of Oklahoma education-related news of the week.