Thursday, April 30, 2020

Updated COVID-19 Human Resources FAQs

Q. When should an emergency employee stay home?
A. The Governor has provided recommended guidance for well individuals with potential COVID-19 exposure and for those who are ill with fever or respiratory symptoms (like cough or difficulty breathing). HR has provided a checklist for administrators and supervisors to aid employees.

Q. What should a supervisor or administrator do if they learn an employee is experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19?
A. Contact HR administrators (seidc@wdmcs.org; johnstonj@wdmcs.org) prior to taking action or communicating, and we will collaborate on the protocols, communications, and process to follow, keeping individual privacy and safety in mind.

Q. When should an emergency employee return to work?
In accordance with the Governor’s recommended guidance, you should stay home and isolate from others until:

  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
  • at least seven days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

Q. How is leave being addressed during the closure?

  • Entering Leave—Employees may not need to enter leave during the closure, unless you are deemed an emergency or essential employee, or an employee group with expectations of work during the time of closure. Please do not add or delete any leaves in the Frontline system during this time. HR will address this for all employees.
  • COVID-19 Leave—Beginning April 1, 2020 The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) allows employees additional paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. If you have specific questions, please contact HR (johnstonj@wdmcs.org).
  • FMLA—The days during the closure will not count towards an employee’s FMLA leave balance unless you are deemed an emergency employee or an employee group with expectations of work during the time of closure. If you are on FMLA you do not need to adjust your leave request. HR will adjust all FMLA leave according to the federal regulations. If you are on FMLA you are not expected nor are you permitted to work during your leave. If your status changes and you are authorized to return to work by your doctor, please notify HR (armstrongj@wdmcs.org or johnstonj@wdmcs.org).
  • Unpaid Leave—Employees who were on unpaid leave prior to the closure will remain in unpaid leave status during the closure.
  • Worker’s Compensation—Employees receiving worker’s compensation benefits need to email Carol Seid at seidc@wdmcs.org or Carol Rushing at rushingc@wdmcs.org.

Q. How will salaries and wages be paid during the closure?
A. (Updated April 27)
Our Board of Education has approved a third resolution and payroll plan. The new recommendation states hourly employees will be paid from May 1 through the end of the school year. Beginning May 1, 2020, there will no longer be any “premium” pay for employees working from home or in the office. All hourly employees, even those working from home or in the office, will be paid at their regular hourly rate except for school nutrition hourly staff who are working in the COVID-19 Emergency Feeding Program. These employees will continue to receive premium pay equal to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked. These changes would be reflected in the June 5 payroll, which covers the pay period starting May 1.

View payroll date information

Certified and salaried staff will continue to receive their regular pay. These employees will use appropriate leave if unable to work.

Q. Will benefits continue?
A. Benefits will continue without interruption, and premiums will be deducted in the same manner as usual.

Q. How will employee evaluations be conducted?
Certified end of the year IPDPs and peer reviews should be completed electronically and virtually as appropriate and as directed. The district will work with the BOEE and employees to ensure licensure requirements are met and PGM processes are addressed. Supervisors who have support staff evaluations which are unable to be completed will be provided with a statement for evaluation processes this year.

Q. How will we conduct interviews and hiring?
HR will work with hiring administrators and supervisors to conduct virtual interviewing and hiring procedures during the closure.

Q. What is expected of employees during this time?
A. Unless you are an employee expected to report to work you should not be on district sites during the closure. Our buildings and facilities are closed.

  • Salaried employees—Salaries continue; employees should report to or work remotely, or take appropriate leave. If working remotely, check email at least daily, be accessible and complete work responsibilities as assigned.
  • Certified employees—Salaries continue; certified employees should follow the guidance of Supervisor/Administrator, work remotely adhering to expectations, or take appropriate leave. Certified employees should check email at least daily during the week, establish and communicate regular office hours, be available to complete or participate in online PD, participate in virtual interviews, virtual meetings or other projects, virtual PLC collaboration, communication with families/students following the guidance of building/district expectations, provide online resources and continuous learning opportunities for students, complete clerical work as needed for the position. Guidance provided from the Department of Education or other appropriate entity may require an adjustment of these expectations.
  • Support/Non-unit employees—Wages continue for hourly employees; employees may be asked to work remotely or come into the office to complete necessary work, depending on the situation need.
  • Emergency employees—Identified Emergency Employees: Employees working with food distribution as part of the emergency feeding program will receive pay at the rate of time and a half for regular work hours as these employees are designated as emergency. If unable to work according to the expectations,identified emergency employees should take appropriate leave. Requests for emergency designation for employees will be reviewed and approved by Superintendency prior to work completed.
    • Identified roles and time frame determined by Superintendency.
    • For work performed during the designated time noted as an emergency, the employee will be paid at 1.5 times the hourly rate.

View PDF of employee expectations

Q. How should I handle requests for 1:1 student support?
A. Certified staff should work with their building administrator to address 1:1 requests and determine the most appropriate way to support the student.

2020-21 Health Benefits Update

As we communicated in December, several changes related to the benefits program will take place on July 1, 2020. Unlike the previous eight years, it is no longer financially feasible to keep the rates and benefits exactly the same.

A rate sheet with your pay periods is scheduled to be available by May 8.

You MUST enroll in benefits this year. The BCEnroll system is open May 8-29. If you do not enroll, you will be moved to Medical Plan 2 ($1,000 deductible PPO plan), and you will continue to have the same dental or vision benefits effective July 1. For dental and vision plans, you are able to drop spouse/dependents only; you cannot add anyone to these coverages.

View Medical and Prescription Drug Benefit Comparison Chart (rates listed are the cost to the district and do not reflect the cost the district will pay toward the benefits.)
View Plan 1 Overview
View Plan 2 Overview
View Plan 3 Overview
View enrollment instructions

Main Benefits Changes

Plan 1 Network Change
Plan 1 now has a different network than Plans 2 and 3.

  • Plan 1 utilizes the Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa (WHPI)—providers in all 99 Iowa counties and most border counties.
  • Plan 1 does NOT provide coverage outside the network
  • Be cautious of this plan if:
    you routinely seek medical services outside the state of Iowa
    you have family members who reside outside Iowa.
  • Plans 2 and 3 will continue to use Wellmark’s PPO network, which has access to in-network providers throughout the United States.

Doctor on Demand Cost-Sharing Waived

Starting July 1, all three plans waive cost-sharing for Doctor on Demand (the 24/7 virtual visit provider) going forward.

  • Wellmark will pay cost-sharing from now until June 16.
  • Doctor on Demand is currently seeing a high call volume, so please be patient.

Prescription Drug Plan Changes

We will now use the Value Plus formula for the prescription drug portion of the plan.

  • Tier 4 drugs will no longer be covered.
  • Specialty medications must be dispensed through CVS Specialty Pharmacy.
  • If you are personally impacted by these changes, Wellmark will send a letter to your home providing additional details about your options.

New Timing for Long-Term Disability Benefits

Beginning July 1, long-term disability benefits will begin after 30 days of disability or at the end of your sick leave—whichever is longer.

  • The current waiting period for benefits to begin is 90 days of disability.

More resources can be found on the district’s website—www.wdmcs.org—under the “Staff” tab or you can login to the Benefits Connect website.

COVID-19/Coronavirus Information

This page is intended to be a source of information about COVID-19 and provide links to the most updated information on how it is impacting our West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) community.

School/Community Relations

Laine Mendenhall-Buck


Alexandra Wade



Aaron Young