School & District Management

Schools Weigh Hazard Pay for Frontline Workers as Coronavirus Threat Spreads

By Corey Mitchell — April 20, 2020 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As the novel coronavirus threat spreads, school districts across the country have boosted pay for frontline workers or are considering the move.

Schools in places such as Box Elder, S.D.; Dallas; Loudoun, County, Va.; San Diego; and Washington County, Tenn., are already offering hazard pay for school nutrition workers and other employees whose jobs require them to prepare or distribute meals or hand out Chromebooks to students for distance learning.

The New Haven, Conn., and Lincoln County, N.C., school systems are among the districts currently weighing whether to boost the pay of employees.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines are difficult to maintain while distributing food to students and families. Concerned about the safety of their employees and the families they interact with, districts across the country have suspended or adjusted their meal-distribution programs, usually scaling back the number of days they provide food or shifting to bus route deliveries instead of in-person pickup.

An Education Week review of news reports found that school nutrition employees have died in at least four states—Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Texas—but it is unclear if the employees contracted COVID-19 on the job or elsewhere.

In Loudoun County, the school board has doubled the pay of hourly employees, including school nutrition workers, bus drivers, and custodians required to report to work, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reports. The district will pay the employees through May 23, the newspaper says.

In San Diego, California’s second-largest district, school board members this month approved time-and-a-half pay for more than 220 employees, including food workers, bus drivers, and custodial staff, who are involved in meal preparation and distribution. The pay boost is retroactive to March 16, the first day of school closure in the 124,000-student district.

School policy and security staff who manage crowds during food distribution and employees who helped sanitize and distribute 40,000 Chromebooks to families are also eligible for the pay increase.

While some districts are boosting employee pay, some are just focused on keeping their school nutrition workers on the job. In Muskegon Heights, Mich., schools Superintendent Rane’ Garcia told Education Week that serving meals helps ensure children are fed, but also keeps employees, many of whom are breadwinners for their families, employed.

Related Reading

As Demand for Food Grows Under Coronavirus, Schools Step Up

School Food Service Directors Fear Children Will Go Hungry During Coronavirus Crisis

Shut Down by Coronavirus, Schools Scramble to Feed Students

Photo Credit: Gemini Middle School staff member Nikho Seham prepares meals for students, families, and members of the community to pick up in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Districts 63 and 207 provide meals each week for all children under the age of 18 during school closure from the new coronavirus. (Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 10 Ways to Tackle Education's Urgent Challenges
As the school year gets underway, we ask hard questions about education’s biggest challenges and offer some solutions.
2 min read
Conceptual Image of schools preparing for the pandemic
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educator Stress, Anti-Racism, and Pandemic Response: How You're Feeling
A new nationally representative survey offers key takeaways from teachers, principals, and district leaders.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
2021 BI COVER no text DATA crop
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Download 8 Tips for Building a Digital Learning Plan That Conquers Chaos
Craft flexible strategies, encourage experimentation with new instructional models, and regularly solicit feedback.
1 min read
onsr edtech tips
Getty