Yesterday Dan Iverson (NUEA President), Kathie Beggs (NESPA President), Scott Thomas (NTA President) and I met with Superintendent Dan Bridges, Chief Human Resources Officer Bob Ross and Chief Financial Officer Mike Francis for a conversation about what we can all do to better serve you, the students and the community. It was an open, honest and frank discussion but most importantly, I feel that it was a productive conversation.
There are some important points that came out of the conversation that I want to convey to all of you, the most important being that The District values your health and safety above all and will always work to ensure that you are not put into a situation that could compromise that. To that end, a communication was sent out yesterday regarding staff access to the buildings. Currently, staff has limited access to the building from 7:00 am-2:00 pm Monday through Friday, during which time they must contact the building’s principal or designated administrator before coming into the building.
Another of the important points is directly related to this issue. We all need to be aware that everyone is attempting to navigate unknown territory, especially when it comes to continuity of instruction for students during this closure. We need to all work together in this, among our crews, our department and all other staff throughout the district. We ask that you be flexible and communicative, possibly creative, to help make sure that instruction can continue which will help maintain the sanitary integrity of our buildings.
I have been getting encouraging word from all over the district that much of this is already taking place but if you aren’t already, please maintain open communication with your building principals so that when staff contacts them, they can relay the information to you and the custodial staff. If a teacher needs materials that they hadn’t realized they would need, please be understanding that they are learning on the fly just like everyone is and if you can offer a way to help them that would minimize outside contact with already sanitized surfaces, it’s a win for everyone.
As has been the case since this all started, everything that we know is as current as can be and communication is being relayed as often and as quickly as possible. Superintendent Bridges is sending out a daily update, and NUMA will be updating you as often and extensively as we can. Any directives for staff will come directly from the official source, whether it’s from Dan Bridges’ office, Pat Dolan, Bob Rechenmacher or Paul Bennetazzo. I will help to relay and contextualize these message as best I can and if there is additional information from IEA I will relay that as well. No overall process, procedures or other information will change without you knowing it so be sure to check your district email, the NUMA website (www.numa-203.org) and encourage everyone around you to do the same. Print out and post messages, whatever you can do to make sure everyone has access to the information will help relay the uncertainty we may be feeling.
I know this is getting a bit long, but I have to add one last thing: You’re all doing tremendous work. I am always immensely proud to represent this outstanding group of people but even more so when I hear from so many the message of togetherness and community that is being fostered right here, with you. We are some of the lucky ones who have the opportunity to maintain the normalcy of getting up and coming into work when so many do not and I have heard from so many of you messages of gratitude for something that just last week was so common place. Let’s keep that going. If we can help to maintain some semblance of spirit and positivity in this time of crisis, and I know that we can, then we are doing even more important work than we may realize.
Stay safe, stay healthy
-Kevin Bee –
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