School Board adopts agreements with union tied to return to school

Katelyn Metzger 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 10, 2020 12:00 pm

QUINCY -- If Quincy Public Schools shifts to remote learning during the 2020-21 school year, teachers will be able to have their own children in the classroom with them while remote teaching.

The School Board adopted, during a Monday morning special meeting, a memorandum of understanding with the Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel targeting staff dependent care.

"If they have school-age children, they will be able to have them in the classroom while doing remote teaching as long as the child is not high-need and can be on their own computer and working with their remote teacher," Superintendent Roy Webb said. "With the shortage of daycare, this will take some burden off the community and help our teachers out."

A second memorandum or understanding, also adopted Monday, outlines additional procedures with the COVID-19 transition to start the school year including that union members will self-certify for symptom screening and temperature checks and union members will not be required to use sick time if they receive a positive COVID-19 test.

The union worked with Webb, Director of Personnel Lisa Otten and Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Kim Dinkheller on the agreements and on the Operation Blue Devils Return to School district plan, also adopted Monday, said Brandi Many, president of the teacher subgroup of QF.

"We've spent this summer trying to get everything ready to go back and making contingencies just in case," Many said. "We just worked really hard to make sure we're ready to go back."

The return-to-school plan -- supported by the QF and focused district-wide with specific tasks for departments -- is tied to separate plans targeting the preschool, elementary schools, junior high and high school.

"We continue to communicate those with the public as best we can through social media, Skylert messages. Everybody should know our plan," Webb said. "It's really a plan that's devised on options. Parents can opt for remote learning or send their student in person."

Parents and families will play key roles in the success of in-person learning.

"It seems that once everyone steps inside school, we have things in place, really as much as we can, to prevent an outbreak," board member Carol Nichols said. "The whole thing depends on before the child gets there and what responsibility parents and family take for the child."

And, Webb said, what responsibility students take for themselves at the high school level.

"If they go to a party on Friday night, we have no control over that," Webb said. "In the school we feel good about measures taken, but I will tell you there is still risk."

In other action, board members:

º Approved the K-5 handbook for the 2020-21 school year.

"It does have some changes. The whole first page is COVID-related, but it syncs with our plan that you already approved," Webb told the board.

º Approved an amended agreement with West Central Regional System. All school districts within the WCR adopt the agreement each year to continue the cooperative for career tech classes.