Staff FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

As the district continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation, this page will be updated with additional information. If you have questions not answered below, please submit them via Let's Talk.

 

Updated Recreational Space Use as of 4/29/20
 

Updated Business and Operations

Amid increased demand and limited supplies, AISD continues to manage and expand our inventory of personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer, masks and gloves, as well as cleaning and disinfectant products.

The service center is working with the contracts and procurement team to coordinate the districtwide purchase, delivery and distribution of personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. In addition to medical and washable masks, the district has a limited supply of N95 (aka surgical masks).

To request supplies for essential workers, please contact Linda Coronado, who leads the district’s housekeeping operations, at Linda.Coronado@austinisd.org.

AISD's contracts and procurement services team has requested that each campus and department immediately contact their respective contracted service providers to assess whether services are essential—and being provided under the remote learning environment to which the COVID-19 health crisis has restricted the district. In addition, teams must determine if the level of service can continue or be performed and validated remotely—in accordance with “stay home, work safe” order.

To guard against any claims that the district is paying vendors who are not providing services and not others, all campuses and departments must complete and document their analysis of all agreements. The contracts and procurement team has sent instructions to all principals and departmental leaders.

AISD has re-opened tracks, fields and courts (including basketball and tennis courts, football and play fields). Community members accessing these spaces must practice social distancing. Playgrounds will remain closed until further notice to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Some schools have active gardens that support food production or outdoor activity on district properties. The sustainability team has asked principals to share the district's School Garden Access Protocol with families, teachers and team members, as well as partners who wish to tend the garden at their school. 

School nurses should ensure coordination with campus administration for building access and medication return using the "Student Health Services Procedure for Returning Medication to Parents." Nurses also can perform end of year close-out protocols using the "Student Health Services 19-20 End-of-Year Instructions." The district has shared these instructions with all principals and departmental leaders.

AISD construction activities continue, including site visits by district team members and consultants before campus construction is underway. Under city- and state-mandated protocols, construction continues on projects. AISD is reviewing contractors' COVID-19 safety plans and the construction management team is conducting site visits to monitor compliance.

AISD also is working closely with the City of Austin to identify, review and address any potential issues with such items as permits, construction inspections and real estate.

BENEFITS, LEAVE AND WELLBEING

Please click here for Staff Safety, Health, and Benefits information.
 

COMPENSATION

Update as of March 31: At this time, the Board of Trustees has authorized the district to continue to compensate locally funded regular, active, full- and part-time employees while classes were canceled and campuses are closed due to COVID-19 precautions. This will continue as long as trustees authorize.
 

Update as of March 31: Our context related to COVID-19 has impacted the manner in which we serve our school communities and greatly limits our need for temp/hourly and substitute services at this time.

  • Temp-hourly employees are paid only for work that is performed. The district has suspended assignments for Temp/Hourly employees in many cases, with minimal exceptions where those individuals support critical essential functions. Temp/Hourly employees include positions such as lunch monitors, tutors, student workers, etc.
  • Substitutes, including long-term substitutes, will be compensated for all worked assignments. The district has suspended assignments for substitutes in almost all cases, with minimal long-term assignments. Long-term substitutes that will be permitted include teachers and administrators.
    • Access to technology: Currently, AISD has limited supplies of hardware. However, long-term substitutes may be provided limited access to district systems (excluding internet) to support their work with school communities. Please request access from your campus principal.
       

Update as of March 31: Federally funded, part-time employees will be compensated if they provide documentation that the work performed aligns with the intent of the approved position. For example:

  • administrators, coordinators or teachers who are contributing to lesson planning and the delivery of online instruction may continue to receive compensation and
  • part-time tutors will not receive compensation because students are not being tutored at this time.
     
  • Update as of March 31: Substitutes and temp-hourly employees should contact the Texas Workforce Commission to inquire about their eligibility for unemployment benefits (twc.texas.gov).
  • Update as of March 31: If you are enrolled in an AISD benefits plan, your benefits end at the end of the month in which you are employed and/or for which the district is able to collect your portion of the premium.  Upon termination of your coverage, Discovery Benefits will notify you of your rights to continue benefits under COBRA. Benefit information is accessible through the district benefits website.
     

Update as of March 31: 

  • Non-exempt employees who completed supervisor-approved work on Friday, March 13 will only be compensated at time-and-a-half. March 13 was not a scheduled holiday. 
  • Non-exempt employees who completed supervisor-approved work during spring break will be compensated at time-and-a-half in addition to holiday pay. Please communicate with your timekeeper in a timely manner to ensure that time and a half pay has been recorded accurately.
  • Exempt employees are not eligible to receive premium compensation.
     

Update as of March 31: 

  • Non-exempt employees—The district is providing COVID-19 premium pay of time and a half to non-exempt employees who are called to physically report to work to support a critical, essential function. These employees should not exceed a 40-hour workweek
    • For example, bus drivers who support the district’s work to provide WiFi/internet access will receive premium pay.
    • NOTE: The premium pay is time and a half for hours worked (1.5), not regular pay plus time and half for hours worked (2.5) during class cancellations and school closures as part of COVID19 precautions.
  • Exempt employees—Exempt employees are not eligible to receive premium compensation.
  • Non-exempt peace officers—Non-exempt peace officers are paid time-and-a-half for hours physically worked on-site or if they are required to report for duty on their scheduled day off. Additionally, non-exempt peace officers are paid a shift differential for hours worked during a scheduled night shift.
  • Exempt peace officers—Exempt peace officers are not eligible to receive premium compensation.

Update as of March 31: To ensure the safety and security of our team members and facilities—and to comply with the city’s “stay home, work safe” order—campuses are closed. At this time, employees should not report to campus unless directed by their supervisor for essential work that is approved by human capital. This is a rare exception.

Any team members, including parent support specialists, teaching assistants, clerical staff, et. al., who work without this direction and approval will not receive premium pay.

Update as of March 31: Teachers are exempt employees (administrative professionals who do not earn overtime). They are not eligible to receive overtime compensation (i.e. a pay rate of time-and-a-half).
 

Update as of March 31: The district is assessing the ability to continue with PPfT Compensation based on the Texas Education Agency’s recently released information about teacher evaluations. More information is forthcoming.

 

TIMEKEEPING

Update as of March 31: Non-exempt employees (classified team members, who are eligible to earn overtime with supervisor approval) can enter timeclock information via a web browser. No VPN client installation is required. Please access this link for time and attendance.

Update as of 4/6/2020. SCHOOL LEAVE OTHER is no longer to be used in employee time. New codes COVID and WRK_COVID have been developed and should replace SCHOOL LEAVE OTHER.

New Timekeeping Procedures due to COVID.PDF 

Update as of March 31: Yes. They will only earn SLO up to the amount to complete their full-time equivalent (FTE). Example:

Premium pay is attached only to the hours physically worked by a nonexempt employee. For example, if a custodian normally works 40 hours per week at $10 per hour, he would receive 40 hours of regular pay ($400) during closure if authorized by policy and/or resolution. However, if policy and/or resolution call for premium pay at time and one-half, and the employee physically works 10 hours, the employee's pay would be calculated as follows:

30 hours x $10 = $300
10 hours x $15 = $150
40 hours = $450

Update as of March 31: Yes. While it is best practice to approve timesheets each week, the payroll cutoff date for monthly payroll is April 10. Furthermore, you can make adjustments to correct timesheets until the close of business on Monday, April 13. Employee timesheets will need to be approved at that point to meet the April payroll deadline.

Update as of March 31: No. Do not delete employee punches. Use School Leave - Other hours to complete their weekly timesheet up to 40 or their FTE-allowed hours.

Update as of March 31: Yes. We recognize that families and individuals are faced with personal and/or discretionary challenges that lead them to request access to their accrued leave and supervisors should practice more flexibility to accommodate our employees. If employees have not accrued leave and decide not to report to work when called on, they will not receive compensation for that time.

Access to Facilities

To ensure the safety and security of our team members and facilities, access to campuses is restricted. Exceptions are rare, limited to individuals who must address critical issues, including retrieving medicine for students, gathering items to work remotely or feeding animals. The principal must approve all requests for access to their school—and must work with their head custodian to ensure that all safety protocols are followed.

  • Campus Access Log: Principals must log access requests in the Campus Access Log before approving access. {Link/Instructions to access.} All applicable fields must be completed.This will ensure that the operations team knows who will be at each campus each day.
  • Process: Matias Segura, operations officer, or Nicole Conley, chief business and operations officer, will review the log daily and follow up as needed to ensure that principals and team members are supported.
  • Approval/Denial: Principals will approve or deny requests.
  • Access Protocols: Principals must contact their head custodian to coordinate access. The campus principal, head custodian or their designee must be available during access periods.
    • Access groups are limited to five team members.
    • Access should be limited to 30 minutes.
    • Only Austin ISD employees may enter a district facility.
    • Disinfectant sprays will be available. All visitors must wipe down their work surfaces—and all surfaces touched during the visit—prior to leaving campus.
  • Campus Site Visit Instructions: Staff members should plan their route so that they arrive at the campus on time. If they arrive early, they must stay in their vehicle. Staff is discouraged from entering the building before their designated time.
    • Upon arrival use only the main entrance.
    • Please go directly to the space requested.
    • Wipe down the work area and all surfaces touched during the visit.
    • Please exit the building the same way you entered.
    • Once complete, please update the ‘status’ section of the log to confirm completion.

Updated Request Process: Request approval from your supervisor. If approved, fill out the HQ Access Request Form.

  • Requests will be reviewed by the operations team, as well as the human capital team as needed.
  • If approved, the district will send confirmation emails, acknowledging requests and providing instructions.
  • Guidelines:
    • Access to HQ access is permitted only from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
    • All visits are limited to 30 minutes.
    • If the number of requests exceed the available openings, the operations team will offer alternative times.
  • HQ Site Visit Instructions: Plan your route so that you arrive at HQ on time. If you arrive early, please stay in your vehicle. Staff will not be permitted to enter the building before their designated time.
    • Upon arrival, you may use the main entrance that faces Ben White Blvd. The other entrance remains in use exclusively for the construction team.
    • Please check-in on the first floor with the AISD Police officer who will be managing entry. Only team members who have completed the form and received confirmation will be granted access.
    • The operations team will provide a short orientation about best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • Please proceed directly to your floor via the elevators or stairs.
    • Removal of furniture is not permitted.
    • Before leaving, wipe down the work area and all surfaces touched during the visit. Cleaning products will be provided on each floor to sanitize all areas of contact.
    • Please exit the building the same way you entered and check out with staff.

    If you have questions regarding access protocols, please contact:

Budgets and Grants

Our financial services team continues to develop school and departmental budgets for next year—while beginning to prepare to close our current year budgets.

Unless otherwise noted, please continue to follow AISD's standing processes and deadlines to help us continue this critical work in a timely manner.

The district is working with the state and federal team to ensure that your unspent funds from the 2020 school will be rolled into your budget for the 2021 school year in July. However, given the economic fallout from COVID-19, we cannot guarantee funding commitments as agencies are trying to maintain job security for their employees.

Field trips and activities throughout the district have been cancelled. The district will issue refunds from the Activity Funds on an ongoing basis. The finance team will send information about procedures to bookkeepers.

Please:

  • inform all bookkeepers and team members who sponsor activities and
  • remind families to update their contact information in the Parent Cloud to ensure checks are mailed to the correct address

Construction Projects

Austin ISD construction projects are exempt from the City of Austin’s “stay home, work safe” order. Based on city guidelines–which allow construction sites to remain open with a 10-person limit in a single space and additional safety measures–the district expects to continue construction work as scheduled.

For example, the district is working closely with construction teams to follow health and safety requirements and guidelines while keeping all bond projects on schedule. Not only does this work keep our fellow community members employed, it also ensures the district continues to use bond funds wisely and keep our promises to voters. Delaying modernization projects could have a significant negative impact on construction costs, as well as the carefully coordinated schedules that align school opening dates with the start of fall or spring semesters.

The district service center or construction management teams are reviewing and monitoring access to schools for maintenance improvements and campus construction.

Contracts and Purchasing

AISD has placed a temporary moratorium on all campus and departmental purchases—with the exception of centralized ordering to enable distance learning and essential operational services.

Specifically, we are limiting purchases to only essential items coordinated and approved through the academics team to distribute supplies and materials to students for their online learning opportunities, as well as through the technology team for computer hardware and software.

This also can include necessary items such as the purchase of food for live animals at a campus. Note: All team members approved to access a campus by their principal must follow all safety protocols.

All requests for supplies and services should be routed for approval through your respective chief executive officer. For example, if you have an exceptional concern related to purchasing, please contact your associate superintendent.

  • All purchases, including P-Card, should be discontinued.
  • Pending purchase orders will be reviewed. If the requested services or goods are not essential at this time or approved by the chief executive officer, then we will hold the purchase order in queue and not release.
  • Request for proposals, bids and solicitations continue.
    • Please continue to work on request for proposals, bids, as well as other solicitations.
  • Please do not place orders for the 2020-21 school year. There will be sufficient time to begin to place orders for the next school year.

Delivery of physical items must be discontinued. For recurring payments for services received (e.g. cell phones), please contact Melissa Bishop to process P-Card payments.

This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If services are approved by the chief executive officer for your division, please contact the contracts and procurement team to assist with the necessary contract or amendment.

Contracts for services that are completed during the spring in preparation for the next school year may still be able to continue if the work can be performed and validated remotely—in accordance with “stay home, work safe” order. Please contact your respective buyer on the contracts and procurement services team for assistance.

Deliveries and Mail Services

The U.S. Post Office is holding campus mail in Austin until April 15. AISD’s contract and procurement services team will provide information about the plan for mail services beyond that date (forthcoming).

Discontinue all deliveries, regardless of funding source. Note: No deliveries to homes are allowed.

Examples:

  • Publications: For example, yearbook ordering should be suspended until schools reopen as the district is neither able to receive them at campuses nor deliver them to students.
  • Existing orders ready for pick-up: If the vendor will hold items until the stay-at-home order is lifted, there is no need to cancel the order. Note: The district cannot make payments until we have received the order

 

Other FAQs

State and Federal Accountability