COVID-19 Information on Benefits and Leave

Employee FAQs During the COVID-19 School Closure and Remote Instruction


Will I still receive full compensation during the closure?
All permanent full time employees will continue to receive full compensation, including any stipends allotted to their position for the 2019-2020 school year. Our guest educators currently serving in a long-term substitute assignment and providing online instruction to students will also be compensated for the days worked.

Full-time employees paid an hourly wage (nonexempt/non-contracted) will continue to receive compensation for a 40-hour workweek during the closure. For documentation purposes, hourly employees should follow directions from their office manager or supervisor to report hours physically worked each week. All hourly employees should be prepared to work remotely or onsite, as required, up to 40 hours per week during the closure in order for District operations to continue to run smoothly.
According to Board Policy DEAB (LOCAL), hourly employees must have prior approval from the principal or supervisor to work more than 40 hours per week. Hourly employees need to be available to work remotely, respond to emails, answer calls, or perform duties requested by their supervisor Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All employees are expected to participate in required meetings and activities, whether they occur remotely or onsite, including staff meetings, department meetings, planning sessions, and training sessions that take place by videoconference or phone conference. Employees who fail to perform their job duties, remotely or onsite, may be required to take leave and may be docked when leave exceeds their allotted paid leave. Employee performance during this time may be reflected in annual appraisals.

For a complete description of employee roles and responsibilities during the closure, sign in to the Northwest ISD My Portal and select the “Roles & Responsibilities” tile.

Can I accept a position with another employer while the District’s buildings are closed and we are providing remote instruction to students?
Yes, as long as: (1) you promptly disclose the other position to your supervisor, and (2) the other position does not create a conflict of interest with your NISD duties/responsibilities. All full-time employees are receiving compensation during the closure and are expected to work, either onsite or remotely, as your job requires. Taking a second job that interferes with your ability to perform your District job may result in discipline, up to and including termination.

Board Policy DBD (LOCAL) states:
“An employee shall disclose to his or her immediate supervisor a personal financial interest, a business interest, or any other obligation or relationship that in any way creates a potential conflict of interest with the proper discharge of assigned duties and responsibilities or with the best interest of the District.”

Whether or not a second job would create a conflict of interest may be determined on a case-by-case basis. Examples of a second job that might create a conflict of interest include:

  • Working during the times you are scheduled to work for the District; 
  • Paid tutoring to your own students; or
  • Activities that would impair your professional reputation and reduce your effectiveness in the District, such as selling or promoting controlled substances or erotica.

In order for District operations to continue to run smoothly, all employees are still on duty and may be called to report to work or complete work remotely at any time during the closure. Employees should continue to monitor and respond to District calls and emails throughout the workday and be accessible by phone and videoconference. Employees should not report to the campus or worksite without prior supervisor approval.


Can I travel outside the area but still do my job responsibilities?
All employees are expected to be available to report for onsite duties during the closure and remote instruction times. The District expects that all employees provide the necessary instruction and support during both the closure and remote instructional time.

If you are unable to report to your worksite during your working hours on workdays, you must get approval in advance from your supervisor and enter the absence into Aesop. Workdays are set out in the staff calendars, online here.

Many staff members will receive directions from their supervisors about new working hours while we are providing remote instruction, which may include designated “office hours” to be available to serve parents and students remotely. Unless your campus principal or supervisor gives alternate working hours for your position during the closure, your working hours will be the same hours you reported to work before the closure. For campus staff, working hours are based on the campus staff schedule. For central administrative staff, working hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with an hour for lunch.

Please be mindful of the fact that District employees are being paid during this time to provide remote instruction and ensure that essential District operations are not disrupted. Our taxpayers have a reasonable expectation that we are working during this time and not taking unauthorized vacations on the taxpayer’s dime. Employees who take time off without authorization may face discipline, up to and including termination.

Which employees will be requested to work at Campus, Administration and Support Services work sites?
During the closure, we are limiting onsite work as much as possible; however, some people may be required to report to their campus or worksite to ensure that essential operations continue and students have access to critical materials and equipment for remote learning.

The maintenance staff have been working during the closure to monitor all NISD campuses and perform any essential repairs. Campus administrators and other staff members have been assisting with daily grab & go food distribution for students. Nurses have reported to campuses in order to begin distributing student medication back to the parents.

As District operations evolve during this time, there may be a need for additional staff to assist with the deployment of technology, grab & go food distribution, and other District operations.

We are asking all employees to remain flexible and keep the lines of communication open to ensure we can meet student needs while taking appropriate precautions. The District is following all recommendations of the CDC and state and local authorities regarding COVID-19. We expect employees to practice social distancing, frequent handwashing, and self-quarantine when necessary. The District has been tracking and documenting employees who enter each facility on a daily basis. If you are asked to work onsite but are immunocompromised or have symptoms of COVID-19, please communicate these concerns to your supervisor promptly.

What if I’m called to work, remotely or onsite, and I am unable to perform the expected job duties because I have to care for my own children?
You will need to record an absence in the AESOP System as Family Illness. In the "notes to administrator section," enter a note that you are unable to work due to childcare. Contact your campus administrator immediately so that the needs of the District and students can be met.

We understand that this is a challenging time for all employees, including those with their own families to care for while we work remotely. We encourage employees to work with their supervisors and families to establish work-from-home schedules that allow you to manage your professional and personal responsibilities during this time. We also encourage supervisors to communicate expectations for on-site and at-home responsibilities to allow for advance planning, when possible.

What if I am sick or have a family member who is ill, and I am unable to work remotely or onsite?
Beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, you will need to record your absence in AESOP as either personal or family illness and contact your campus administrator immediately so that the needs of the District and students can be met. If you or a family member become ill, you should seek appropriate medical attention and take care of your health.

On March 17, the Board voted to grant additional paid leave to employees who are ill with COVID-19 or are caring for a qualifying family member who is ill with the disease, after all other available paid leave is exhausted. Goals of this additional leave include ensuring that employees can seek medical attention and take time to recover, rather than neglecting their health and passing the disease on to others. If you need to use this additional leave, please contact Kitty Poehler.

What if I am on maternity leave or other medical leave, but I want to perform my job duties once the District begins remote operations on March 30, 2020?
Your physician will need to provide medical certification that you are released to perform your job responsibilities before you can resume your job duties. The release must be reviewed and approved by District administrators before you can begin any work-related activities. The medical certification can be e-mailed to kpoehler@nisdtx.org or faxed to 817-698-6687. If you are seeking a release to work for March 30, 2020, please submit all paperwork to Kitty Poehler on or before noon on Thursday, March 27, 2020.

Please note that if you have the supplemental long-term disability policy offered by the District, your benefits will end when your physician releases you to return to work.

How will paraprofessionals report their time during remote instruction?
Office managers and Central Office Timekeepers have sent out Google documents to each paraprofessional.

  • All paraprofessional need to complete the form and submit it to their timekeeper at the end of each week
  • The timekeeper should then record 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the timeclock for all paraprofessional staff.
  • The timekeeper will also record any additional hours worked beyond 40 hours.

I am scheduled to be on approved medical leave during the district closure. Will I be able to extend my leave by the number of days the district is closed?
You will be able to extend your leave by the number of days the district is closed through March 27, provided your physician requires you to remain off due to a certified medical condition. If your physician requires you to remain off due to a certified medical condition and will be extending your leave, you will need to notify your campus administrators and the Kitty Poehler (kpoehler@nisdtx.org).

Your campus administrator will work to extend the long-term Guest Educator. You will need to provide Kitty Poehler (kpoehler@nisdtx.org) with medical certification extending your leave.

What happens if I need to request leave for a future medical procedure or condition?
Please e-mail Kitty Poehler at kpoehler@nisdtx.org to begin the leave process.

What if I am currently out on Worker’s Compensation Leave? Will I continue to receiving temporary income benefits?
During the two-week school closure, you will be paid by the district and will begin receiving temporary income benefits should they be need once district operations resume.


Benefits

What happens if I am directed by my health care provider to be tested for the COVID-19 virus?
Current medical plan participants and covered dependents will not be responsible for the testing cost for the COVID-19. The district has taken the necessary steps to waive any co-pays or deductibles for the testing.

What happens if my family member who is on the district’s health plan must self-isolate due to travel or is diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus and needs prescription refills?
At this time, the district has taken the steps to allow participants to refill prescriptions 30 days in advance.

What should I do if I need to add or drop medical coverage during the district closure?
Please contact e-mail Kitty Poehler (kpoehler@nisdtx.org) to discuss the benefit change you need to make. You may also call Ms. Poehler at 817-215-0071 and leave a message should you have any questions or need additional information. Ms. Poehler’s voice mails will be routed to her district e-mail. Please be sure to provide a return call back number in your message.

Will the NISD Employee Health and Wellness Center be open during the district closure?
The Health and Wellness Center will be open during the closure. Please be aware that the Health and Wellness Center Staff will be following a specific protocol when you arrive at the clinic as precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.

We would ask that only the patient report to the Health Wellness Center. If you need to bring a child who is ill, please refrain from bringing any additional family members to the appointment.

What if I am a district medical plan participant and do not want to report to the Health and Wellness Center? Is there another way to receive medical treatment?
WellVia, the district’s telemedicine provider is available 24 hours a day to assist covered medical plan participants. WellVia is equipped to assist participants who believe they have been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. You can reach WellVia at 855-WELLVIA.