For Special Subjects and Support Services Teachers Returning   on   January 4th: Initial Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question:  Who is returning on January 4th?

Answer:  Initially the District identified 95 Special Education teachers and more than 300 Special Subjects and Special Services teachers. Due to the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, those with no in-person students will remain fully remote.  If a teacher has a less than full schedule, that teacher would teach the in-person students at the work location and will have the option to teach the remote students from home or from the work location.

  • What schools have been identified for Phase 1?

Answer:  Currently the identified schools are, #4, #5, #12, #15, #28, #29, #33, #42, #45, #53, RISE, Edison, WFA, Wilson Commencement.

  • Who are the students that we will be teaching?

Answer: Mostly, but not exclusively, teachers are keeping their own students with the exception of those who were approved for an accommodation for remote teaching and also except for the classes being transferred from Franklin and East to Edison.

  • Question: Where are we being assigned?

Answer: The vast majority of teachers will be assigned to their current schools.  East and  Franklin Lower will teach out of Edison until everyone returns.

  • Question: When can we get into our classrooms?

Answer: On Wednesdays through December 23, you can prepare your room and be excused from PD, meetings, etc.  Also, you can arrange to teach remotely from your classroom, if that is what you choose, beginning now.  The schools will be accessible during the winter recess. Please communicate with your principals about the exact hours.

  • Question: Speaking of hours, what are they?

Answer: In-person schools will start at their regular (not remote) bell times: Elementary 7:30-2:00 or 9:00-3:30; Secondary 7:30-2:30 or 8:30-3:30.

  • Question:  What about problems with scheduling?

Answer:  The District is reviewing schedules and will adjust. The District projects new schedules will be completed this week.  The professional day has not been extended. Please contact your RTA Faculty Rep or RTA Office with questions or concerns.

  • Question: What can we put or hang up in our room?

Answer: Feel free to make walls welcoming and inviting. However, nothing can be added to the room such as bean bags, stuffed animals, additional tables, refrigerators, etc.

  • Question: How have the classrooms been set up?

Answer:  All classrooms set up should include physical distancing.  Desks and tables will be 6 feet apart. Please do not rearrange the desks or tables.

  • Question:  Where will Special Subjects classes take place?

Answer:  Most Special Subjects classes and related services will take place in the students’ classrooms, not in the Special Subjects classrooms.  PE classes may be in the gym unless there are mobility issues with students. Music classes may be scheduled in a multi-purpose room, if available.  Physical distancing (12 feet) must be maintained both for PE and Music.

  1. Question: What about disinfecting and cleaning supplies?

Answer: Each room should have disinfecting and cleaning supplies.  Contact your custodian or administrator as needs arise.  The District may have more specific guidelines

  • Question: What about cleaning and disinfecting during the instructional day?

Answer:  The custodial staff will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting the high touch areas during the night cleaning. According to the District, teachers will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their own areas – as before the COVID shutdown. Students’ computers are staying home to reduce additional risk.

  • Question:  What about breaks and lunch?

Answer: Normal breaks and duty-free lunches must be provided.  The break/lunch room needs to maintain social distancing.  Masks should be worn, except when eating.  No gatherings should take place for your own and others’ health and safety. 

  • Question: What about PPE? And how do we get more?

Answer:  PPE should be provided and available in your room.  As you need more, contact your custodian or administrator.

  • Question: Has the ventilation been checked in our building?

Answer: Not only has it been checked by the District, but the RTA hired Industrial Hygienists to complete independent inspections at schools scheduled for reopening.

  • Question:  Will there be plexiglass partitions for students who, for medical reasons, cannot wear a mask and for those who demonstrate unsafe behaviors?

Answer: At least two schools are arranging for partitions because of medical exemptions.  If others believe there is a need for such partitions, please contact your RTA Faculty Representative. 

  • Question: Due to wearing PPE, can teachers wear more casual/easy-to-wear clothing?

Answer: Yes. There is no dress code for teachers.

  • Question:  Will there be written communication or meetings with the District, that could include parents, before we return?

Answer: We have suggested this to the District.

  • Question: Will we be required to teach in-person and virtually simultaneously?

Answer: To the best of our understanding, that is the District’s plan as of now. The District believes that teachers can use their Teaching Assistants and Paraprofessionals to work with the in-person students while the teacher is working with the remote students and then flip that arrangement. We have raised questions about all this and have formally requested impact bargaining. 

  • Question: What COVID testing will occur and where?

Answer: Required testing will take place at school buildings. The number of those tested will depend on the red or orange designation. It is the less invasive nasal swab. Students will not be tested every day; however, they are to complete the daily screening and will have their temperature checked if it was not done.

  • What if I have additional questions or concerns?

Answer:  Please contact your principal, your RTA Faculty Representative or bring it to our attention at the RTA .

The above is subject to change and updates.