As our district navigates the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that we listen to the voices of school-based staff. The REA has composed the following list of recommendations based on the input of the people who work in our buildings with students on a day-to-day basis. It is our hope that RPS will adopt these changes in the interests of health, safety, and staff retention.
- The district must establish metrics that state the minimum number of required staff needed to provide instruction, maintain student safety, and operate each school building effectively.
- Mandated service providers (LIEP, interventionists, Exceptional Education) should no longer be asked to serve as substitute teachers. Doing so prevents them from providing required services to students.
- Schools should be provided with a more equitable process for replenishing PPE.
- An easier and more equitable process/plan(Each site should have 3 individuals that will pick-up on Wednesdays, if impossible, then sites can partner pick-up) for replenishing PPE (current process is stated to be that each school picked up needed supplies ever Wednesday from a designated location).
- Virtual learning must be expanded so that all students who request a spot and can demonstrate success in a virtual learning environment have the opportunity to do so.
- Pay for instructional assistants must be increased, and additional pay must be provided to compensate them for providing coverage for colleagues.
- The district must allow teachers the autonomy to set their own pacing. This will allow them to better meet the needs of their students.
- RPS should institute a temporary pause on all observations and evaluations that are not mandated by VDOE. The district should seek to promote a positive and supportive culture in buildings.
- The district needs to devise a plan to provide more mental health support for students and staff.