GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The state's largest school district has altered its plan to have employees return to work at the end of the school year amid the coronavirus pandemic. It comes after significant outcry from both the community and employees, who said their health and safety would be put at risk.
The Gwinnett County School District released on May 1 its original plan to have employees report back to schools starting Wednesday, outlining safety measures it would take to keep employees safe.
Teachers and district employees - like those from districts across the state - have been teaching and working remotely since the end of March, after Gov. Brian Kemp ordered all schools to be closed through the end of the year.
The district said they would need to bring employees back into the school buildings in order for them do things to close out the end of the year, including inputting grades. However, push back was swift.
As a result, the district has adjusted the plan, in order to "balance the district’s need to successfully close out the school year with the reality that many employees face personal or family situations that make it very difficult for them to return to the work site, and the amount of time individual employees may need to spend at school to complete end-of-year tasks could vary widely," according to a statement announcing the altered plans.
Here are the new guidelines:
- Continue the current schedule for principals, assistant principals, office staff, custodians, and School Nutrition Program staff.
- Teachers and other staff will no longer be required to report as previously communicated in the original “Return-to-Work Sites Plan.”
- Principals will work with teachers and other staff to arrange times for them to return to the school to close down their classrooms or work spaces and complete other necessary tasks.
Central Office Personnel
- All employees who hold director-level positions and their administrative assistants are working on site as of Wednesday, May 6. Division leaders are working with staff to adjust schedules as needed to address individual employee situations and to limit the number of people in a work location.
- Similarly, Division leaders will work with all remaining central office staff members, who will return to their work sites beginning the week of May 11.
- As the COVID-19 pandemic remains a fluid situation, Gwinnett County Public Schools will continue to provide updates to employees about the transition back to their work sites.
The district's statement continued, saying that it believes the adjusted return-to-work plan provides flexibility while "addressing employees’ concerns about the health and welfare of themselves and their families."
"During this uncertain time, Gwinnett teachers and support staff have worked tirelessly to serve students and support teaching and learning and the operations of Gwinnett County Public Schools," the district said. "Our people are our greatest resource and we must take care of them while also conducting the business of the school district. We know that our employees are eager to close out the school year strong for our students."
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