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Frequently Asked Questions

The North Dakota United staff  have answered some common questions for public employees and educators dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

We are adding new questions and answers as they arise, so please check back for current information.

about school closure:

When does the school closure end?

School buildings have been closed to students and the public until further notice.

Will schools have to make up days?

This depends upon decisions made by the district. The governor has waived instructional days through March 31 so that districts will continue to recieve foundation aid and guarantee that ALL school employees will continue to be paid through March 31. Starting April 1, if school is not back in session, the district has been charged by the governor to begin distance/virtual delivery of education. Districts have through March 27 to develop a plan for approval by DPI. If a district has not submitted a plan or had one approved, they will need to make up days later in the year.

Will distance/virtual delivery of education count toward instructional learning?

Yes. The governor is allowing age appropriate distance learning to qualify.

Will staff be paid during school closure?

The governor and ND superintendent of public instruction have stated it is their expectation that all K-12 staff will be paid through March 31. Aid payments can be reduced if a school does not provide the minimum number of instructional hours provided by state law, but the governor’s order takes care of that through March 31.

Can school districts require staff, including education support professionals, to work when schools are closed?

Yes. The schools are closed to students and the public, but staff can be required to attend work.

How does this affect state aid payments?

A school district’s state aid payment is determined using the school’s average daily membership from the previous school year. Average daily membership is calculated using the number of class hours a student attends, plus the number of hours he or she is absent, then dividing the sum of those two figures by the total number of instructional hours offered by the district. Average daily membership is not dependent upon student attendance, but rather the number of students for which a district is responsible for educating. State aid payments are distributed in nine installments during the school year. The payments for the 2019-20 school year started in August 2019. North Dakota school districts have already received 92% of the state aid they were expecting for the 2019-20 school year.

 

about public buildings closure:

When will the public building closure end?

Public buildings have been closed to the public until further notice. The governor issued an executive order on March 19 closing all state offices to non-essential personnel. This caused some 3,100 state employees to work from home. Please CLICK HERE to read the executive order.

general employment questions:

Can I be required to take sick leave if I have isolated myself because I am at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or have travelled to an area with community spread of COVID-19?

Congress has passed and President Trump has signed into law additional paid leave for those impacted by COVID-19. Please CLICK HERE for more information. We are researching who is eligible for this leave and will update this answer as we have more concrete information. If you work for a school district your local’s negotiated agreement will take precedence on this issue.

What are my rights as a caregiver for my children or parents and not going to work?

Congress has passed and President Trump has signed into law additional paid leave for those impacted by COVID-19. Please CLICK HERE for more information. We are researching who is eligible for this leave and will update this answer as we have more concrete information. If you work for a school district your local’s negotiated agreement will take precedence on this issue.

If the governor orders staff back and I am in a high-risk group, what can I do?

Congress has passed and President Trump has signed into law additional paid leave for those impacted by COVID-19. Please CLICK HERE for more information. We are researching who is eligible for this leave and will update this answer as we have more concrete information. If you work for a school district your local’s negotiated agreement will take precedence on this issue.

education support professional questions:

Will ESPs continue to be paid throughout the end of the school year?

The governor has waived instructional days through March 31 so that districts will continue to receive foundation aid and guarantee that ALL school employees will continue to be paid through March 31. Starting April 1, if school is not back in session, the district has been charged by the governor to begin distance/virtual delivery of education. Each district will have a unique plan on how to best accomplish this.

Can school districts require staff, including education support professionals, to work when schools are closed?

Yes. The schools are closed to students and the public, but staff can be required to attend work.

student issues:

What about the ND State Assessment?

On March 20, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction announced that all state-wide assessments for accountability have been canceled for the year. This includes NDSA, NDAA, and ACT.

If Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are due before March 31, do we hold them by teleconference or reschedule?

If all essential members of the team are available to hold the meeting and it can be assured that parents have access to participate in the meeting, the IEP may be held. We have asked for additional information from the federal Office of Special Education Programs and will provide it as soon as possible.

Is the school required to provide special education and related services during school closure?

If the school is closed and is not providing services for its students, it is not required to provide services for students with IEPs. Federal law requires schools to provide equitable services for special education students if the school intends to offer virtual learning.