The meeting held on Wednesday, March 18, was closed to the public to attend in-person because of social distancing amid the pandemic and under an Executive Order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. However, the meeting was aired live on Sachem’s radio station, WSHR 91.9 FM, to ensure the public can listen.
The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. and lasted a mere 1 minute and 10 seconds as the board members quickly voted for most items on a consent agenda, which groups multiple business items and reports as one agenda item for a vote.
Among the items approved was continued pay for the district’s hourly and part-time employees from Friday, March 13, to Tuesday, March 31.
“The School District is desirous of avoiding the costs associated with employees filing claims for unemployment compensation during this time period, and is also desirous of retaining employees who might otherwise seek other employment if not being paid during this time,” the agenda item read in part.
The Board unanimously approved the agenda item. The full agenda item description follows this article.
March 13 was the first day Sachem Schools closed because of a confirmed case of coronavirus affecting a student's family. Subsequently, Sachem Schools announced a one-week closure from March 16 to 20. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone then ordered all schools in the county to close from March 16 to 27. Those closure announcements were quickly superseded by Governor Cuomo’s emergency order to close all schools in New York State from March 18 to April 1.
Based on the current orders from New York State, Sachem Schools would reopen Thursday, April 2.
Agenda Item Details
Meeting: Mar 18, 2020 - Regular Meeting
Category: Consent Agenda Items 2A-8B
Subject: COVID-19 and State of Emergency Order
Recommended Action: Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Education approve the following:
WHEREAS, pursuant to Executive Order 202, the Governor of the State of New York issued a declaration of emergency for the entire State of New York as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the County Executive also declared a local state of emergency and ordered the closing of schools for student instruction for a two-week period commencing March 16, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the Superintendent of Schools also declared a local state of emergency and ordered the closing of schools for student instruction on March 13, 2020 after learning from the Suffolk County Department of Health of a positive test result in the Sachem community; and
WHEREAS, the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances that caused the declarations of emergency warrant the School District to fairly and consistently compensate its employees during this period of crisis in the best interests of the community at large; and
WHEREAS, the School District is desirous of avoiding the costs associated with employees filing claims for unemployment compensation during this time period, and is also desirous of retaining employees who might otherwise seek other employment if not being paid during this time.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education hereby authorizes the salary payments of hourly and part-time employees during the period from March 13, 2020 through March 31, 2020, subject to change pursuant to a revision of the Governor’s Executive Order, based upon their customary standard hours of employment, provided that compensation shall not be provided to the extent the District calendar is amended to provide for additional work days for said employees during the balance of the 2019/2020 school year as required by the New State Education Department or the operation of law pertaining to State aid; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that nothing contained herein precludes the Superintendent of Schools, or his/her designee(s) from requiring part-time or hourly employees from working during these periods of school closure if deemed necessary by the District.