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School District looks to allow more staffers to work remotely

By Staff | Apr 10, 2020

School District Board Members, via Zoom, were updated Tuesday on the safety protocols taking place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins said the School District of Lee County is working towards getting as many of its staffers as possible out of the schools and working as remotely

“It’s something we have consistently been working on,” he said, adding that this past week they gave school principals additional flexibility to have more staff work from home.

This week, they were looked to implement a tiered approach, which included a few examples, Adkins added.

The first example relates to a school that has no construction, or projects going on and is not a feeding site. In this scenario there is no need to keep the school open and all staff works remotely. The building is continued to be checked upon by district maintenance, or a building supervisor.

Another example is if the school is not a “feeding site” where grab-and-go breakfast and lunch bags are being distributed, but there is an essential project taking place. The only reason for staff to be at the school is to allow the contractor and workers to be onsite, and only during the portion of time that work is occurring, as well as the cleaning that takes place.

Anyone coming into the buildings has to comply with the CDC recommendations. Once the work is completed, a deep cleaning takes place.

The last example is if a school is a food distribution site, which results in staff being there. Adkins said a school administrator, as well as a school resource officer, is asked to be present.

The service workers have screenings in place.

Adkins said they are requesting that they secure a memorandum of understanding that they continue to pay the workers that are doing the interaction in public with food distribution. In an emergency situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the food service workers that were brought back to hand out the food will receive a bonus.

These food service employees are going above and beyond their job description than what other employees are doing, Adkins said, adding they are on the front line with the community, are at the highest risk and are the lowest-paid employees of the group.

Chief Finance Officer Dr. Ami Desamours said as they analyze what is going on each week, including the demand for meals, they continue to expand sites for the meal initiative that provides food at no cost for anyone 18 and younger.

Mariner High School was opened as a feeding site. Next week, seven additional sites will be added, based on demand, as well as three additional bus routes – Bonita Springs, the Suncoast area of the West Zone and Lehigh Acres.

“As we determine the different needs and the demand we have, we continue to expand out each week,” she said. “It is critical that we have pay in place, so we have the employees that are willing and able to participate in expanding the feeding program for a very needed and valued service.”

Desamours said they continue to focus on determining where the best places are to have the sites to feed the most children, while reaching the areas of need.

They are currently serving more than 10,000 meals a day.