Wendy King — a former Manteca Unified School District trustee and former classified employee who is now working for a school district in Alameda – is accusing the local district of imperiling the health of non-teachers during the pandemic.
King related in a letter that appears on page A5 of today’s Bulletin that she had been contacted by MUSD classified workers who say they are not being allowed to work from home as teachers are so therefore their health is being jeopardized by COVID-19.
The district has restricted access to the administrative building, is enforcing social distancing, has placed hand sanitizers throughout offices, and is even allowing flexible work hours.
The district since the stay-at-home orders were issued has had classified employees working out of class to make sure they can continue to support the district’s 25,000 students that are now on distance learning. It also means they are continuing to be paid
Employees, such as bus drivers, that would have been out of paychecks have been switched to support tasks needed to make distance learning work as well as provided grab and go lunches and breakfasts.
The district office supports day-to-day programs of its schools and teaching staff. They also provide other essential services such as tech support that has become even more critical to support a distant learning program that is robust enough not only to continue teaching to state standards but to meet the requirements needed to award grades.
King, in her letter, believes classified workers should be allowed to work from home.
That is not practical in many cases or is prudent. The business department, for example, administers a $267.8 million budget that includes the payment of bills and payroll for more than 2,000 district employees. It would not be prudent to allow payroll and such to be processed remotely from an employee’s home.
“We want to take this opportunity to reaffirm publicly the incredible work of our classified staff who has committed to the support of educating 25,000 students throughout three cities and all unincorporated areas,” noted Superintendent Clark Burke. “This is a daunting task for all, for students, for families and for our staff in this time of crisis. Every day we learn how grateful we are for the people that work in an essential sector of the State Infrastructure to keep our organization running, paying our employees, feeding our students, delivering curriculum that addresses state standards despite the challenges.”
Other government agencies such as the City of Manteca, City of Lathrop, and City of Ripon have most of their administrative staff working in offices that are closed to the public while they maintain social distancing and take other recommended precautions.
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