Staff Health and Safety
The Sumner-Bonney Lake School District is committed to providing staff with information and risk mitigation expectations to help alleviate concerns as people transition back to work. We ask that all employees do their individual part to follow health and safety expectations to keep themselves and others safe. If staff have concerns about the cleanliness of their rooms or school, please contact the building principal in order for them to have the issue addressed by the custodial and maintenance staff. Each building or department will have a designated COVID-19 Supervisor designated. Inquiries or concerns related to COVID-19 can be referred to the COVID-19 Supervisor. The Supervisor will be supported by the Assistant Supt. for Operations (Bill Gaines).
Both DOH and L&I require students and staff to receive a health screening before entering a school or work location. DOH and L&I follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which allows for health screening to be performed at home before school/work or on-site. Whether screenings occur at home or on-site, school personnel should always be looking for visual signs of illness (flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing, fatigue, and cough) throughout the school day.
Employees are required to self-monitor at home for symptoms related to COVID-19 before arriving at work:
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- The new loss of taste or smell
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion/running nose -- not related to seasonal allergies
- Unusual fatigue
On-site temperature checks will be completed daily for students, staff and guests upon entry into our buildings. Specific building entry points to be utilized will be shared with staff and students.
Staff or students exhibiting symptoms listed above will need to stay home or if at school or work, will be required to leave the building once proper transportation arrangements have been made. If the student or staff member are required to wait for transportation, they will be directed to a designated room. Per L&I, steps will then be taken to air out and then clean and disinfect the areas where the person was after they leave. (For specific steps, see Protocols for Suspected Coronavirus Illness on pgs. 49-50 below).
In addition, all staff must self-certify that they are COVID-19 symptom-free each day utilizing the SBLSD COVID-19 Employee Self-Certification Form or online application. Temperature checks when arriving at work are required. If employees exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, they may contact their physician. Employees are required to utilize their regular absence reporting procedures to report their time off and remain at home using sick time or other appropriate leave. Leave questions should be directed to Human Resources.
Staff Illness and Absences
Staff should follow the guidance from the Washington State Department of Health regarding potential exposure to COVID-19. This information is subject to change and will be updated if needed.
Employees must quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days per OSPI’s return to school guidance, if they:
- Tested positive for COVID-19
- Had close contact with someone who has tested positive of COVID-19
- The guidance defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an individual with symptoms for more than 15 minutes.
- In this case, the employee must quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Suspected of having COVID-19 based on symptoms
If employees experience any of the above-described conditions, they need to stay home, not report to work and contact the Health Services Manager or Assistant Superintendent, Bill Gaines, immediately. Employees will need to utilize appropriate leave procedures and can contact the Human Resources Department for assistance. (See Employee Leave and Accommodation section below). Contact tracing will be initiated by Bill Gaines in collaboration with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
Employee Leave and Accommodation
*The blue, underlined text in this section indicates a link to more information that can be accessed by “clicking” on the text. This information is subject to change depending on changes to state mandates, to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, or to any Memorandums of Understanding reached with an employee group.
Employees have access to leaves as described in their handbooks or collective bargaining agreement. These leaves continue to be available, and in addition there are some temporarily available leaves. Some of the leaves addressed could overlap with another type of leave (or run concurrently).
Typically accrued leaves
Typically accrued leaves (such as sick, vacation, personal, etc.) are available and can be used within the parameters established for each employee group in their respective Collective Bargaining Agreement or Handbook. You can also check the HR site through the employee dashboard for any Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that may be in place for your employee group. The Washington State Employment Security Department has issued additional guidance about COVID-19 scenarios and how temporary emergency rules impact the use of specific leaves and other benefits.
Existing Federal and State Leave Acts
The Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Washington Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFML) also remain in place as potential options when an employee or a family member for whom the employee provides care has a serious health condition.
Temporarily Available Options Related to COVID-19 Pandemic
As part of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) –
- As of April 1, 2020, The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) requires districts to provide all employees with up to 80 hours of paid or partially paid sick leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19.
- An employee can be eligible for EPSLA leave when one or more of six COVID-19 circumstances applies:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine/isolation order.
- The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine order or has been advised to self-quarantine.
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (The agency has not specified any other substantially similar condition as of yet).
Additional EPSLA details
- An employee is not required to use other employer-provided paid leave before using EPSLA leave.
- An eligible employee using EPSLA leave will be compensated at the greater of the employee’s regular rate of pay or the applicable minimum wage, subject to certain maximum limits.
- For EPSLA leave due to the employee’s own COVID-19 situation (the first three circumstances listed above), compensation is at 100%, but is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total.
- For EPSLA leave due to caring for others, including sons or daughters (4th and 5th circumstances listed above), compensation is at 2/3, but is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 total.
- An eligible employee will receive EPSLA leave for the total number of hours the employee would have normally been scheduled to work during the period of leave. For part-time employees, hours are based on an average of the employee’s hours over a two-week period.
- EPSLA leave is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020.
- As of April 1, 2020, the federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) mandates that districts provide eligible employees whose children’s schools or daycares have closed up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, the first 10 days of which is unpaid (although the employee may substitute accrued paid leave) and the remainder of which is paid at two-thirds of their regular rate.
- Employee eligibility: An employee must have worked for the district for 30 calendar days, not the traditional FMLA requirement of at least 1,250 hours for that employer over the 12-month period prior to the leave.
- Reason for leave: An employee must be unable to work (or telework) because the employee needs to care for a son or daughter under the age of 18 whose elementary or secondary school or place of care has been closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. (Traditional FMLA leave is only available for an employee’s own “serious health condition,” to bond with a newborn or adopted child, or to care for family members with a “serious health condition”).
- Compensation: EFMLA leave is unpaid for the first 10 days. The employee must be allowed to substitute “any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave” (including EPSLA leave, if applicable, as discussed above). For the remainder of the leave, the district must pay the employee at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate, up to $200 a day, not to exceed $10,000 total during the leave. (Traditional FMLA leave is unpaid; however, many employers require an employee to use any available accrued paid leave concurrently).
- If an eligible employee utilizes EFMLA leave, it is not in addition to the 12 weeks of FMLA leave during a 12-month period. For example, if an employee uses 12 weeks of EFMLA leave and then experiences a serious health condition, the employee would not be eligible for additional FMLA leave during the 12-month period. Similarly, if an employee has utilized one or more weeks of FMLA leave during the current 12-month period, the employee does not qualify to use those weeks for childcare under the EFMLA.
- EFMLA leave is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020.
- The EFMLA expands traditional unpaid FMLA leave by granting eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for a son or daughter whose school or childcare is closed due to a declared public health emergency related to COVID-19.
- EFMLA leave differs from typical FMLA leave:
If the above conditions apply to an employee and such employee would like to request leave under the temporarily available leaves, they should contact the Human Resources Department for a leave request form. Typically available leaves follow the usual procedures outlined for employees on the employee dashboard or in the relevant collective bargaining agreement or handbook.
Additional Considerations for “High Risk” Employees
Governor Jay Inslee’s April 13, 2020, proclamation 20-46 has been extended indefinitely. Proclamation 20-46.2 expands accommodations for those employees who are at "high risk" for severe coronavirus illness as determined by being over the age of 65 and/or by the definitions provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for those who have underlying conditions that put them at increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19. This definition includes those who meet any one of the following factors:
- Cancer (active)
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
The Governor’s proclamation also applies to employees whose conditions are listed by the CDC under the “might be at increased risk” category, but only if, based on the employee’s medical circumstances and workplace conditions, the employee is, in fact, at increased risk for suffering severe illness from COVID-19.
It is important to remember that an employer cannot identify high-risk employees or even ask employees to self-identify; therefore, employees will need to identify themselves when seeking an accommodation. An employer should not assume an employee who is in the higher risk group will need a particular type of accommodation (or any accommodation at all). Please remember that whether to pursue accommodation is the employee’s choice.
If an employee meets the proclamation’s criteria (as set forth by the Governor and the CDC) and the employee would like to request a reasonable accommodation, they should contact the Human Resources Department: 253-891-6025 or email@example.com.
Employers may require verification from a medical provider when the employee either falls within the “might be at an increased risk” category or seeks to use any leave where a state or federal law, collective bargaining agreement, or contractual obligation separately requires verification.
Any accommodations will be individualized on a case-by-case basis as appropriate. Some potential options depending on the employee and the essential functions of the individual’s job might include, but are not limited to, the following: alternative or remote work locations, alternative shifts, reassignment, enhanced physical distancing, and/or enhanced personal protective equipment.
In alignment with the Governor’s proclamation, if accommodations such as those listed above are not feasible, high-risk employees may use any available accrued employer-granted leave or unemployment insurance in any order the employee chooses. If the high-risk employee needs to enter an unpaid leave status as part of an accommodation during this time period covered by the Governor’s proclamation, any employer-provided health insurance benefits must be maintained.
Returning to Work and School
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department School COVID-19 Case Response Toolkit establishes when a staff member or student may return to work or school when. As more in learned about the virus and its impact on people of different ages and those with different medical conditions, adjustments may need to be made to the information below:
1) Confirmed COVID – 19 cases if student or staff member is sick with COVID-19 symptoms and test positive:
a. 10 days after symptoms started or date tested if there were no symptoms.
b. Symptoms improve
c. 24 hours after the fever is gone, without using medicine.
2) Suspected COVID-19 cases with negative test results:
- No symptom but close contact to positive COVID-19 case –stay home for 14 days.
- No symptom and no close contact – may return to school/work
- Symptoms but no close contact – may return to school 24 hours after fever and symptoms are no longer present.
- Symptoms and close contact to positive COVID-19 case – may return 10 days after symptoms started and 24 hours after they were fever free and symptoms improve.
3) If a healthy student or staff member is in close contact of a person with COVID-19:
- If a close contact lives in the same household as the person with COVID-19 – they may return 14 days after close contact with COVID-19 case.
- It may be longer than 14 days it others they live with get sick or they can’t avoid close contact with sick person.
- If close contact does not live in same home – may return 14 days after close contact with COVID- 19 case.
- People who live with the close contact, if they were able to not be in close contact may return to school/work, if no symptoms develop.
4) If a sick student or staff member tests negative for COVID-19:
- If the sick person was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 – they may return after 14 days from close contact with COVID-19 case; 10 days after symptoms started; 24 hours after being fever free, without medicine to reduce fever.
5) If a sick person has an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare provider and had close contact:
- Stay home for: • 14 days after close contact with COVID-19 case. • 10 days after symptoms start. • 24 hours after fever symptoms improve. Must improve without medicine to reduce fever.
6) If a sick person does not have an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare provider:
- Assume the sick person has COVID-19 due to close contact.
- Stay home for: • 14 days after close contact with COVID-19 case. • 10 days after symptoms start. • 24 hours after fever symptoms improve. Must improve without medicine to reduce fever.
7) If a sick person has an alternative diagnosis form a healthcare provider and was not in close contact with a COVID-19 case:
- Assume the sick person does not have COVID-19 because of the alternative diagnosis.
- Follow the guidance specific for the illness, per the healthcare provider.
8) If the sick person does not have an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare provider and was not in close contact with a COVID-19 case:
a. The staff member or student may return to school/work 24 hours after fever and symptoms are no longer present.
Protocols for Suspected Staff or Student Coronavirus Illness
School Health Specialist – Protocols for Suspected COVID-19 Illness
Planning and Preparation:
Each building will have a designated isolation room to be used if there is a student or staff member suspected of demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms. The room requires high levels of ventilation and must be large enough to allow for appropriate social distancing. If there is confirmation of a COVID-19 case, the room may be closed and secured for 1-3 days. A supply of face face coverings should be available for the student or staff member. Appropriate signage will be posted outside the isolation room to inform people that the area is restricted for the purpose of infectious disease control.
- School Health Specialists will have a supply of the following PPEs onsite:
o Medical grade face face coverings (N95 or similar)
o Face shield
o Disposable gowns
o Sufficient supply of hand soap, access to water, and access to hand sanitizer.
Suspected COVID-19 case at school or work:
- If a student or staff member is demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms in the classroom, the School Health Specialist is to be called, informed of the suspected illness, and provided the classroom number.
- If a student or staff member is in a common area, on the playground, or office and they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should ask a fellow student or a staff member to contact the School Health Specialist and ask them to come to the location of the ill student or staff member.
- The Health Specialist will notify the appropriate member of the building of the Main Office of the situation and the need for coverage, while they deal with the matter.
- The student or staff member is to remain in the classroom or the area they are located for the Health Specialist to provide the person with the face mask and to escort the person to the designated isolation room.
- The Health Specialist will use the proper PPE for possible exposure. The Specialist will take a face mask (medical grade) with them and have the student or staff member replace their face covering with the face mask.
Once in the isolation room, the Health Specialist will take the temperature of the individual, and assess (through questioning) the symptoms listed below:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
(This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.)
- Once the individual’s temperature has been taken and the Health Specialist has completed the assessment questions, the Health Specialist will share their observations with the building principal, a Tacoma-Pierce County Health representative and the District’s Health Services Manager. School and District staff do not provide a diagnosis (National Association of School Nurses).
- If a school has a case of COVID-19, local health officials will identify next steps and lines of communication with the student or staff member’s family.
- The local health department officials will provide recommendations on communication, with the family of the impacted student or staff member, with the families of students in the classroom, staff, and the school community at large.
- The local health department officials will notify the district and families of needs for quarantining by staff and students. A list of those present in the classroom and/or other areas of a building/site where the impacted staff member or student was present will be provided to the local health department.
- If a case is confirmed, the building principal and the District Health Services Manager (MaryKay Wilson) will contact the Assistant Superintendent of Operations (Bill Gaines) and the Director for Maintenance and Operations (David Coutts). Quarantining plans for designated rooms and common areas will be established and executed. Per Health Department guidance, the impacted rooms and common areas will be cleaned, sanitized, disinfected, and then remain closed for the duration of time as recommended by the local health department. .
- The Assistant Superintendent of Operations will notify the Superintendent (Dr. Dent) and the Director of Communications (Elle Warmuth). With input from the local Health Department, a communication plan will be developed and executed.
- The Superintendent (Dr. Dent) will notify members of the SBLSD Board of Directors.
- The School Health Specialist will debrief the case with the District Services Health Manager, document the incident, and take proper hygiene steps.
If an employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is not in a school building, the employee will notify their supervisor, who will contact the District Health Manager or Assistant Superintendent of Operations for guidance. The employee should not drive themselves off-site until the individual communicates they are physically capable of doing so.The District Health Manager will put on the proper PPE and take the employee’s temperature, ask the established questions for the symptoms of COVID-19, record the responses, and provide the information to the local health department contact. Appropriate support will be provided to the employee, per health department guidance, by the District Health Manager.
Staff Start to the Work Day
As previously stated, all staff will complete a health attestation prior to entering their worksite and a temperature check will be conducted. Specific building entry points to be utilized will be shared with staff. All staff will need to adhere to physical distancing of six feet and to support students with maintaining six feet of physical distancing from others.
In the event a staff member marks yes to one or more questions on the health attestation, or has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, the instructions for reporting and attendance found under Staff Illness and Absence must be followed.
As indicated by OSPI, for staff, cloth facial coverings must be worn by every individual not working alone at the location unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under Department of Labor & Industries safety and health rules and guidance.
- All employees are required to use at least a cloth face covering that fully covers the mouth and nose. Additional personal protective equipment or other controls are required for workers in medium and higher risk transmission areas.
- For instructional staff only: When wearing a face covering reduces the effectiveness of teaching (for example, during speech therapy, demonstrating enunciation, or language instruction), the educator may temporarily remove the face covering for the period of time that the covering interferes with instruction. Physical distancing of at least six feet must be strictly maintained during this time. For staff who determine that this need exists, they may contact the site COVID Supervisor and/or building principal for other potential PPE options.
- All students and other individuals who will be in a school facility for greater than 15 minutes are required to use cloth face coverings that fully cover mouth and nose or higher protection.
- For employees or students who cannot or should not wear face coverings consistent with DOH exemption criteria, the employer must provide additional safeguards to address the additional risk, such as:
- Those with a disability that prevents them from comfortably wearing or removing a face covering.
- Those with certain respiratory conditions or trouble breathing.
- Those who are deaf or hard of hearing and use facial and mouth movements as part of communication.
- Those advised by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to that person.
- The employee providing the service remotely or students receiving the service(s) remotely,
- The use of face shields and other protective equipment combined with additional measures that limit the risk that individuals will not come into contact closer than 6 feet, or
- Implementing other specific procedures and/or accommodations that mitigate the added COVID-19 risks due to the lack of a cloth face covering.
- The DOH exemption criteria -- Cloth face coverings should not be worn by:
- Staff or students who believe they meet the above criteria and cannot wear a face covering can request reasonable accommodations following established procedures.Staff members seeking accommodations need to contact the Human Resources Office. Students or families should contact their building administration.
- Students may use face shields as an alternative to a cloth face covering. If used, face shields should extend below the chin, to the ears, and have no gap at the forehead. A drape is required or a face covering must be worn under a face shield.
- Younger students must be supervised when wearing a cloth face covering or face shield and will need help putting them on, taking them off, and getting used to wearing them.
- Even when cloth face coverings are worn, continue practicing proper physical distancing.
- Students may remove cloth face coverings to eat and drink and when they go outdoors for recess, physical education, or other activities assuming that all other mitigation measures and physical distancing are still in place.
- Playground staff must wear face coverings during recess duty.
- Per L&I, employees may remove their face covering while they are eating lunch, but all other mitigation measures and physical distancing must be strictly followed while eating.
For K–12 employees who do not work in the school/classroom environment, SBLSD will implement L&I’s health and safety standards that are best suited for each job class (grounds/landscapers, carpenters, non-school based food service workers, warehouse workers, office staff, etc.).
All employees are required to wear a cloth facial covering except when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site, or when the job has no in-person interaction (see exceptions listed above for instructional staff or for those requesting accommodation). This applies to employees working in separate rooms or cubicles if the walls are below face level when working at their desks.
Examples of working alone include:
- A person by themselves inside an office with four walls and a door.
- A lone worker inside of a cubicle with 4 walls (one with an opening for an entryway) that are high enough to block the breathing zone of anyone walking by, and whose work activity will not require anyone to come inside of the cubicle.
- A worker by themselves in an open area with no anticipated contact with others.
L&I also recommends that workers have to wear cloth face coverings when interacting with clients while they are behind a plexiglass barrier and are safe-distanced. While the use of barriers is encouraged, it does not remove the requirement that workers have to wear a face covering or face covering. The requirement for workers to wear face coverings or better is based on whether they're working alone.
Appropriate PPE devices will be provided to employees, based upon their duties and recommendations provided by the CDC, OSPI, and the local Health Department. However, staff may elect to provide their own face covering if it is a cloth face covering as defined by DOH. It must be fabric that covers the nose and mouth to include the following criteria:
- A sewn face covering secured with ties or straps around the head or behind the ears.
- Multiple layers of fabric tied around a person’s head.
- Made from a variety of materials, such as fleece, cotton, or linen.
- Factory-made or made from household items.
Special Services staff who wish to request additional PPE devices should make their request to their designated Special Services Director or Executive Director. Non-building classified staff should direct their request to their designated Director. Certificated and Classified building staff should direct their requests to their building principal. Administrators will work with the Assistant Superintendent of Operations ( Bill Gaines) if there are questions or concerns regarding PPE requested due to the nature/scope of the work being performed. If an employee has a serious health condition or impairment/disability that impacts their ability to safely follow the requirements for PPE, please refer to the section on Employee Leave and Accommodation.
Once an employee enters the building they should wash their hands (either in a bathroom near the entrance or other hand washing station) or use hand sanitizer from one of the stations provided. Please refer to the CDC’s guidance to stop the spread of germs for further information. Employees should schedule regular (hourly) hand washing or sanitizing. Staff should schedule hand washing or sanitizing opportunities for students. Recommendations are for once an hour opportunities. Staff will need to supervise use of alcohol-based hand gel by young children. Coughs and sneezes need to be covered with a tissue that is then immediately thrown in the trash and is followed by hand washing or sanitizing. Staff are reminded not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Hands should be washed or sanitized again prior to leaving the building.
Employees should declutter their office and workspace to facilitate effective cleaning each day. Employees should not share pens, staplers, and other office supplies. Employees shall refrain from sharing workstations (at the district office) to the greatest extent possible.
This section is subject to change in response to the county’s status in the Governor’s phased plan for reopening and the SBSLD learning model stages. Currently, staff meetings for more than five people during the 2020-21 school year will occur only through electronic means (e.g. Zoom, Google chat, etc). In the event staff meet in person, physical distancing and recommended health and safety procedures must be followed.