As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, information on best practices and guidance continues to be necessary. As the State of Ohio and local jurisdictions navigate the constant distribution and influx of guidance, Pepple & Waggoner has prepared the following to serve as a reminder, and a reference checklist of topics to consider, in moving forward.
Recommended and Required Board Resolutions
Contact your legal counsel for assistance with drafting resolutions on the following topics which meet your school district’s unique needs:
|Distance Learning Plan – Resolution to adopt an original or amended plan pursuant to R.C. 3313.482 to make up the days that school is closed to students by using online and/or alternative educational methods.|
|Electronic Meetings – Resolution that allows for electronic meetings, public participation and board member attendance without being physically present, and which also modifies or suspends conflicting board policies.|
|OTES and OPES – Resolution addressing teacher evaluations that have already been completed, and teacher evaluations which will be impossible or impracticable to complete for the 2019-20 school year.|
|Year-Long and Spring Supplemental Contracts – Resolution to address the full payment, partial payment, or decision not to pay compensation for spring supplemental activities.|
Responding to the Coronavirus
- This blog post serves as a central point where updates on COVID-19 are made regularly, and recommendations and guidelines on legal issues are addressed. Specifically, this blog post discusses the following topics: board resolutions; compensation of staff when the school is closed; working from home; the continuity of education through online learning and blizzard bags; meal services; new school schedules; and supplemental contracts.
- The Ohio Legislature passed amended H.B. 197 on March 25, 2020, which contains several waivers of educational requirements that pertain to school districts and the operation of schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog post discusses school hours and the distance learning waiver; testing and graduation; evaluations, district report cards; licensure extensions; student meals; EdChoice scholarships; and voting timelines.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This blog post discusses the specifics of the Families First Act, as it relates to the expansion of FMLA leave provisions and the new emergency paid sick leave provision.
FERPA and Student Education Records
- Districts must consider the different exceptions to federal student privacy laws that may apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog post discusses the “health or safety emergency” exception.
Conducting Public Meetings Electronically
- With the enactment of amended H.B. 197, boards of education may now hold, attend, and take public action in public meetings hosted electronically. This blog post discusses the basics of holding public meetings electronically under the new law, as well as the requirements that still must be met to maintain compliance with the Open Meetings Act.
- This blog post contains a list of ten considerations for workers’ compensation matters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This blog post expands on the Office for Civil Rights’ Supplemental Fact Sheet on special education matters, which was issued on March 21, 2020.
Services for Children with Disabilities
- On March 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued questions and answers on providing services to students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog post discusses those issues with a focus on providing a FAPE during a school closure, providing services to students with disabilities who may be absent due to COVID-19 while schools are open, and the option of developing contingency plans for students with disabilities.