MASSENA — A 30-day public comment period is now underway for the Massena Central School District’s communicable disease pandemic plan.
“This is required under labor law. The new law requires public employers to come up with a plan if there’s a future pandemic, of how we would keep our employees safe and continue with our operation with our employees,” Superintendent Patrick Brady told Board of Education members during Thursday evening’s meeting.
He said he had been working with Alan Oliver, chair of the district’s Safety Team, as well as the district’s safety officer from Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
“We’ve also run this by our district Safety Team. The other requirement was that we share it with our union leadership. That had to be done by Feb. 4. That has been shared. One of our unions did have some questions. We went back and forth and had those questions answered,” Mr. Brady said.
He said, because it will become an addendum to the district’s safety plan, they were required to have a public hearing and 30-day public comment period.
“Tonight, with this presentation of the plan, we’ll start our 30-day comment period. At the March board meeting, we’ll have a public hearing on it and then ask the board to approve it. It has to go into place by April 1,” he said.
The plan defines who is essential and nonessential in the event a pandemic is declared.
“Essential is defined as a public employer contractor who must be physically present to perform his or her job. So, an essential worker as defined has to be on the job and can’t work from home. Nonessential workers have to be present at work, but we’ve broken that into three different tiers,” Mr. Brady said.
Tier one says all job duties must be performed fully in person with no exceptions. Tier two says some of the work can be done at school, while other work can be done at home. Tier three says most of the work could be done at home, but the employee comes in for emergencies or other instances.
“We took all of our different jobs that we have and we categorized them as either essential or, if they’re nonessential, tier one, two or three. They would have access to technology to do their job function, so we have to have a plan for that,” he said.
Mr. Brady said they also have a plan to avoid overcrowding when employees come into school, as well as a plan to get supplies such as personal protective equipment and disinfectants.
“The plan has to include daily screening, but under privacy laws. If they do get sick, what are the protocols for that? Disinfectant and cleaning. What happens if there’s a positive case?” he said.
The plan can be found under the COVID resources page of the district’s website, at http://wdt.me/ut3PSa.