Arlington, VA

Arlington Public Schools is planning on paying workers whose job cannot be moved to telework through at least the first academic quarter, which ends on November 2.

Superintendent Francisco Durán laid out plans at the July 30 School Board meeting to have bus drivers and attendants, custodians, food service workers and Extended Day staff receive pay and a regular schedule during full-time distance learning.

“We honor and value all of our employees, and to strive and retain them as an excellent workforce during these unprecedented times, I am recommending that we continue to pay these employees throughout the first quarter of the school year… while we assess our long-term needs based on the changing situation and whether or not we return in hybrid,” Durán said in the meeting.

Durán also listed goals for shifting these staff members to different, temporary roles while APS buildings are closed.

New roles could include “providing direct support to connect with students and families regarding access and engagement” and aiding in “virtual social-emotional learning student activities and support,” slides in Durán’s presentation said.

Some Extended Day staff will also provide childcare for teachers and staff at cost in designated school facilities.

Paying these workers is estimated to cost $3,072,000 for the entire first quarter. Bus drivers and attendants are already included in APS’s Fiscal Year 2021 adopted budget, so are costs from Extended Day and food service employees.

Durán said this expense can be mitigated by revenue from the services that staff would provide, as well as from federal funds.

“This cost may be partially reduced for those who may provide childcare and meals,” Durán said. “Fees [for childcare] would cover the cost of staff providing childcare. Revenue and federal reimbursement would cover the cost of the food service staff working to provide meals to students.”

APS is now contacting impacted staff to clarify plans and next steps. Schools have been closed since March 13.

Photo via Arlington Public Schools

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