COVID-19 and Education – Challenges and Opportunities
- Posted by Brian Juarez II
- On Apr 15, 2020
- 0 Comments
- free paperless solution, leave requests, online hiring
The words from Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities are timeless: “it was the best of times and the worst of times.” All around us, we are seeing challenges in schools, districts and in our personal lives brought on by COVID-19. What challenges do you have?
Challenges of Schools and Districts
School/District Closures – From California to New York, schools and districts have temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have closed their doors until the end of the current school year and school staff are working from home.
Federal Paid Sick Leave – In addition to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements, beginning April 2nd, a new federal law provides for 80 hours paid leave on top of paid time off to school employees 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.
The two main categories for this COVID-19 leave are:
- Fully paid up to 80 hours for employee capped at $511 per day
- Leave for caring for family members at 2/3 pay capped at $200 per day
How are you managing the leave request process for employees and tracking the hours used and the caps? Online leave requests and leave balance tracking is certainly helping many schools get through this.
Distance Learning – Local educational agencies are being tasked with delivering high-quality education through distance learning and/or independent study. Many of the school staff we speak with say that they were not ready to do this. However, within days, Distance Learning Plans have been created and posted to school and district websites. Schools that were not 1:1 with their student devices yet have started issuing Chromebooks or iPads to their students. How are you tracking your issuance of these electronic devices?
Hiring and Onboarding New Employees – As one district administrator stated, “we are in the thick of things.” Yes, hiring and onboarding for the 2020-21 school year are on the minds of HR personnel everywhere. The question being asked is, “How will we add new employees with the current social distancing requirements?” Many are finding new ways to do things. While this is a challenge, it’s also a benefit, as old processes are updated and streamlined to make both hiring and onboarding less time-consuming and more efficient than ever. Online hiring and electronic onboarding are certainly trending with many school and district staff.
Employee Notifications and Communications – Adding to these challenges is the renewing of annual contracts and dealing with leave notices. For most schools and districts, both processes are very time intensive. Is there a way to streamline these processes? You betcha! Look for ways to streamline this process by going paperless.
Staying Away from Each Other
Of course, one of those challenges is staying 6 feet away from another individual, now known by everyone as “social distancing”.
To fight the spread of coronavirus, government officials have asked Americans to swallow a hard pill: Stay away from each other. As educators, we are social animals! We thrive by being with others. In fact, our days are spent well within others’ personal space.
Strategies to Stay Productive
How do you stay social and productive while working from home? Here are a few tips that might help.
Schedule breaks – Your family and friends finally understand that, when you’re working from home, you’re actually working! That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t connect with your coworkers, though. So, schedule timely breaks of about 15 minutes to reconnect with your family, friends, and your teammates.
Be social on social media – You just saw something totally hysterical online… do you have anyone to share it with? Or maybe you just had major success! Does it go unannounced? Perhaps, share them on social media. While you’re at it, build stronger relationships with those in your network.
Turn to paperless solutions – Perhaps your administrators have been considering going paperless for some time now. There’s no better time than the present! Your work does not have to pile up just because you cannot make it to the office.
Speaking of which, if you’re not sure if going paperless is for you, try it out! Whether it’s onboarding a new hire or getting a form approved, Helios has you covered. As part of our contribution, we are offering our solutions FREE through June 30, 2020 to schools without these tools. Simply click here to begin today!
So, keep your distance AND stay productive to be a healthy, more productive YOU!