From student health to legal concerns, school leaders have many considerations as they determine how to safely reopen schools during the pandemic. In this webinar series, expert panelists will discuss five areas of consideration, highlighted in the guidance provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Back to School Task Force: student health, transportation, collective bargaining, special education needs and coronavirus-related liability. Learn best practices for educating students and providing for the needs of school staff in the new landscape.
In addition to attending the School’s in Session webinar series, PSBA has additional resources that are currently available to help school leaders navigate the reopening of buildings this fall. Below are summaries of the resources that are available on demand through myPSBA.org.
- Webinar – Equity in Blended, Distance, and Digital Learning: This webinar seeks to discuss digital learning equity gaps related to inequitable access to digital learning tools, resources and supports. Panelists discuss best practices to address these equity concerns, as well as discuss the future of digital learning post-pandemic.
- Webinar – Keynote Webinar Series – Dr. Will Miller: In this presentation, learn more about challenges and strategies for navigating COVID-19 from Dr. Will Miller, a recognized and respected authority on coping with stress, interpersonal relationship and organizational health. An extended conversation with Dr. Miller can be found on keyedradio.org.
- Webcast – Mold in Schools: Experts will share details about the entire process of mold remediation, identify key decision-makers involved and describe their roles, and discuss preventative measures districts can take to avoid mold.
- Training – How to Transition Board Meetings to Zoom: This guide was created by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) to support public school entities in transitioning their school board meetings from a physical location to the digital video conferencing platform, Zoom.
- Webinar – Leading Through Crisis – What Have We Learned?: In this webinar, a panel of school directors and superintendents from across the commonwealth share their stories about the challenges they are facing during this pandemic crisis, how they are reacting to and overcoming these challenges and any lessons they have learned along the way.
Click each session for more information including panelists and how to register.
- Thursday, July 9 – Protecting Student Health as School Reopen
What will school days look like this fall? In this webinar, panelists will discuss Department of Education guidelines for reopening schools, specifically, the restrictions and requirements that must be followed in yellow phase and green phase counties. Hear possibilities and concerns for day-to-day operations in schools and learn about additional supports students will need to be successful in this unique learning environment.
- Monday, July 13 – Post-COVID Student Transportation Modifications
The school bus is often the student’s first point of contact with the school in the morning and the last point of contact in the evening. Thus, school entities should pay particular attention to protocols used in student transportation to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect both students and employees. This webinar will discuss some options and the implications of any chosen option pertaining to transporting Pennsylvania’s students in a post-COVID world.
- Wednesday, July 15 – Adjusting Collective Bargaining for Health and Safety Plans
Many or most collective bargaining agreements (CBA) contain provisions that could greatly restrict the flexibility and creativity in managing human resources that is necessary for reopening schools in accordance with COVID-related health and safety guidelines. Examples include the structure of workdays, planning time and office hours, extra duties, voluntary and involuntary reassignments, limits on numbers of staff simultaneously using leave, faculty meeting requirements, additional training, and flexibility in scheduling to accommodate personal responsibilities of staff. A panel of experienced labor attorneys will discuss the kinds of CBA provisions that may require adjustment for reopening plans to be implemented effectively, and approaches for working collaboratively with unions to achieve the needed flexibility.
- Monday, July 20 – Meeting Special Education Needs as Schools Reopen
This webinar will address how districts can meet the unique needs of students with disabilities when returning from extended school closures and how district leaders prepare for a new school year. Panelists will discuss the cost implications and staffing considerations of the following:
- IEP meetings and evaluations/reevaluations
- Assessments and services
- Transitions and transition planning
- Accommodations in virtual or blended learning environments
- Specialized transportation and other services with health and safety precautions
- Wednesday, July 22 – Understanding COVID Liability Related to Schools
A full-time or part-time return to in-person classes amidst continuing health concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic presents numerous challenges raising potential liability exposures. A panel of attorneys, including two veteran defense litigators and a liability insurance company claims director, discuss the risks that could lead to liability claims in state or federal courts and what measures may help reduce them. The panel will also discuss what protections our state governmental immunity law may provide, and what determines whether coverage is available under an entity’s liability insurance policies.