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The power of us - March 27, 2020

Dear SAISD Staff:

This coming Monday we’ll launch our virtual classrooms. Teachers will once again connect with their students – even if it is remotely – and that bond is so important to a child’s learning. I just want to recognize the tenacity of our teachers who, since returning from spring break, have undertaken the herculean task of transforming their teaching methods to an online environment with guidance from our Office of Academics.

We have updated our Digital Learning Playground to include weekly messages for students and parents, a link where student can submit work in real time, virtual field trips, STEM challenges, a creativity corner, and physical movement. Grade-level lesson plans are being changed weekly.

Many departments, too, have recreated themselves to provide services to our children and their families. There are countless ways that our employees thought outside of the box to overcome the challenges at hand. These are just a few of the examples:


• In a matter of days, we surveyed families to assess all of their needs during our school closure, and we connected them to resources, including our “newly virtual” nurses and counselors who cared for our students’ physical and mental needs via telephone and email. We will continue to add resources in the coming weeks.


• We accelerated a three-year plan to a three-week plan to provide 1:1 technology across our District, and we are rallying the community to support the hotspots needed for home internet access through the SAISD Foundation’s #ConnectCampaign. 


• Our Child Nutrition Department not only collaborated with the Transportation Department to exponentially increase the number of meals we are serving our community’s children, they even collaborated with Athletics to use their coolers. These interdepartmental partnerships aided the site expansion.


• And although we learned the importance of social distancing for our safety and others, our Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD) Department launched The Human Threadsocial media campaign to remind us how to stay connected to each other. These daily prompts make a great community check-in for students, staff and families. SEAD shares other creative ideas on an introduction page

While such feats have amazed and inspired us, we still have a sense of ambiguity and maybe even anxiety as we move forward. This is perfectly normal during such an unprecedented time. My hope is to provide some answers for you.

As a school district, we are considered an essential service and therefore are exempt from the local “Stay Home, Work Safe” order. I want to thank the employees whose services are deemed essential and still physically report to work. This includes some of our police officers, child nutrition staff, bus drivers, principals and some designated campus personnel; as well as some administrative office staff such as assistant superintendents, department heads, and staff in the Office of Academics, among others. This varies by campus and department. 

Others may be asked to report if a department leader or principal has a need for a specific duty. If you have questions about your need to report, please speak with your supervisor for clarification.

When you do report to work, we ask that you please carry your badge. Your supervisor will also provide you documentation to carry in your vehicle that verifies you are among the authorized SAISD Essential Personnel allowed to be on our premises. If you have not received this one-page document, please request it from your principal or supervisor prior to reporting to work so that so you can present it – either as a paper copy or on your cell phone – if needed.  

Most importantly, I ask that each of you who are physically reporting to work to embrace the importance of social distancing. Please protect yourself and others by consciously remaining six feet apart. For those who are serving meals or deploying technology, for instance, this could mean putting food or devices in someone’s trunk, rather than handing it to them. We also have recommended protocols for your entry and exit from campuses and administrative offices.  

As a reminder, there are four categories of employees who will not have their absences deducted from their leave if they are unable to physically report to a work site when needed. This includes employees who:


• Are sick with a fever, cough and shortness of breath, which are symptoms associated with the virus; or those who have tested positive for the virus.*


• Were exposed to others who tested positive for the virus.*  


• Traveled to areas that were deemed high risk, including all international travel and travel to states listed by CDC as having a high numbers of cases.*  


• Or have a serious, chronic medical condition as diagnosed by your physician. 

Please remember, you are required to report these circumstances to Employee Benefits via or by calling and leaving messages at (210) 554-8660. There is a timeline that will run and expire for the categories marked with an asterisk, and those who fall into these categories need to have reported to Employee Benefits, Risk Management & Safety (EBRMS). We will begin clearing some individuals to return to work as early as Monday.

The District is aware of action recently taken by Congress titled Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was passed and signed into law to ease the economic toll of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The primary focus is to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees in specific situations. Human Resources is reviewing the information and will provide an update next week regarding implications of this law for our employees.

As much as we can, we are encouraging as many of our permanent, full-time employees as possible to work remotely until the county and city lifts its order. Working remotely means that you maintain your schedule and number of hours and continue to execute successfully on your projects. It also means that employees remain accessible and responsive to their supervisors by promptly responding to calls, emails and text messages and participating in online meetings, particularly during normal business hours.

If you need equipment to complete your administrative work from your home environment, please notify your department head or chief. The Technology Department has provided them access to a document, which allows Technology to quickly collect this information.

For all employees, please reach out to your supervisors if you have questions about actual work assignments.

If you have other needs or questions, please also keep these resources handy:


• for questions about leave and other issues pertaining to personnel matters.


• for health-related concerns.


• for Talent Management and job transfer questions


• (210) 554-8552 for payroll questions

I admit our work has been more challenging than usual, and this will continue for a number of weeks. Some tasks have been hard, and when it comes to missing our students, even heartbreaking. But the SAISD family has truly pulled together and exemplified the theme with which we began this school year – The Power of Us. 

I cannot tell you how proud this makes me.



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