Dear Team DPS,
We hope that you and your families are doing well. As we are all learning how to cope with the challenges that COVID-19 has created for Team DPS, we want to thank you for your support and patience as we work together to make sure everyone in our DPS community is supported. Because of your hard work, DPS continues to provide essential services to our students and their families. While many DPS employees are currently contributing to this effort from home, there are critical functions that require some DPS staff to report to a worksite.
DPS leaders, including our department leaders and union leaders, have heard questions and concerns from our employees. We are working together to address these questions, and are committed to continuing to share updates as more information becomes available.
Please read below for answers to questions we have heard about work expectations, paid leave options, pay incentives, face masks and for details on whom to contact with additional questions.
WORK EXPECTATIONS DURING STAY-AT-HOME ORDER
Can DPS continue to operate while there is a stay-at-home order in place in Colorado and the City and County of Denver?
Yes, educational institutions, including K-12 public school districts like DPS, have been identified as a critical service under the most recent public health order. With this guidance, DPS may continue to operate “for the purpose of providing meals, housing, facilitating or providing materials for distance learning, and providing other essential services to students, provided that social-distancing requirements are observed.”
Do I have to come into work while there is a stay-at-home order in effect in Denver?
Almost all employees who have a work-year calendar with a defined number of days are expected to work remotely as long as a stay-at-home order for Denver is in place. What happens during remote working may look very different than what typically happens, so we ask for your patience and flexibility during the stay-at-home orders.
We are asking a small number of employees to report to a DPS worksite to perform essential services only in accordance with CDPHE and other official health guidelines. Managers will implement and practice the social-distancing requirements:
· Keeping employees six feet apart.
· Practicing frequent handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds.
· Cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently.
· Not shaking hands.
In addition, DPS has ordered masks to be provided to all employees reporting to worksites. We continue to monitor the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), as well as other health departments.
I am an employee with a work-year calendar with a defined number of days and my job cannot be performed at home. My manager is asking me to report to the worksite to perform essential services only a handful of times during the stay-at-home order for Denver. Will DPS continue to pay me for the work dates I am not asked to report to the worksite?
Yes. Employees with a work-year calendar with a defined number of days whose job cannot be performed remotely should be available to work as defined in their work calendar. However, because DPS is implementing strategies -- such as staggering schedules and employee rotations -- to support social distancing, these employees may not be asked to report on-site each work day by their manager or be required to work the typical length of hours at a worksite. DPS will continue to pay employees with a work-year calendar with a defined number of days their regular rate of pay through the end of the school year even though they may not be asked to report to work each work day.
PAID LEAVE OPTIONS RELATED TO COVID-19
What new leave options is DPS offering related to COVID-19?
Starting on April 1, DPS implemented new guidelines to assist employees who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. DPS will provide emergency paid sick leave, for up to 80 hours, for any one of the following reasons:
· For your own illness: If you are quarantined by the government, diagnosed with COVID-19 by your doctor and ordered to self-quarantine, or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting diagnosis from your doctor.
· To care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19: If you are caring for an individual quarantine by the government or diagnosed with COVID-19 and ordered to self-quarantine.
· To provide childcare for your own child: If you are caring for your own minor child because your child’s school or daycare was closed due to COVID-19.
In addition, DPS will provide family leave, for up to 10 additional weeks, if you are caring for your own minor child because your child’s school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19. These new additional guidelines are in place through Dec. 31, 2020.
Does emergency paid sick leave and family leave cancel out sick leave I already have through DPS, or my union’s collective bargaining agreement?
No, DPS will provide up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave in addition to your existing leave and paid time off.
What if I am not eligible for the 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave -- do I have other leave options?
Yes, employees may be eligible for other leave options consistent with Board policies and Employee Association Agreements. Please contact the Leave of Absence Department to discuss all available leave options.
What if I am high risk or someone in my household is high risk, and I am asked to report to the worksite?
Starting April 1 through the end of the 2019-20 school year, employees who are asked to report to the worksite and are at high risk as determined by federal health authorities for severe outcomes of coronavirus, or live with someone who is, are eligible to apply for an expanded personal leave of absence program. Under the program, employees may elect to use their accrued time in the form of sick leave, Sick Leave Bank (if enrolled), vacation leave (if eligible) and personal leave -- in that order -- for salary continuation.
What if I am concerned about reporting to the worksite this school year due to COVID-19?
Starting April 1 through the end of the 2019-20 school year, employees who are asked to report to the worksite and do not feel comfortable reporting to the worksite are eligible to apply for an expanded personal leave of absence program. Under the program, employees may elect to use their accrued time in the form of sick leave, Sick Leave Bank (if enrolled), vacation leave (if eligible) and personal leave -- in that order -- for salary continuation.
What if I am unable to work (or telework) because I am caring for my child whose school or place of care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19?
An employee may be eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave. In addition, an employee may be eligible for up to 10 weeks of family leave (either fully paid or partially paid) as long as the child’s school or daycare remains closed.
What if I am unable to work (or telework) because I am sick or I am caring for an individual who is sick due to COVID?
An employee may be eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave.
‘THANK YOU’ INCENTIVE
To recognize the dedication of our team members performing essential and critical in-person services, DPS is instituting a $5-per-hour “thank you” pay incentive for eligible staff. All non-exempt employees required to report on-site for work are eligible for the incentive, and it applies to every hour worked at the worksite. Employees will continue to receive pay at their regular rate-of-pay for hours not worked on site. The incentive pay period began April 6 and will continue as long as a stay-at-home order for Denver is in place.
FACE MASKS FOR ALL FRONTLINE EMPLOYEES
Given new guidance from CDC regarding the use of cloth face coverings, DPS has ordered masks to be provided to all employees reporting to worksites. However, due to supply issues, we expect the masks to arrive in mid-April. In the meantime, we ask that you please follow the CDC guidance by wearing a face mask of your own or making your own to be worn on the job. Click here for a video on how to create your own face mask.
· If you have questions or concerns about leave options, please contact the Leave of Absence Department at 720-423-3092 or LeaveOfAbsence@dpsk12.org.
· If you have general questions or concerns about Human Resource policies or pay, contact reach out to HR Connect at 720-423-3900 or Connect_Humanresources@dpsk12.org.
DPS Human Resources