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FEA Coronavirus Information Page

This page will be used to post updates from FEA about the impacts of coronavirus outbreaks and shutdowns on our members and their students. This is not an official source of information from DoDEA or DOD. Please continue to monitor those sources for news and information as well.

posted July 10, 2020

Reopening of Southeast Schools Delayed

FEA applauds DoDEA's decision to delay the opening of schools in the Southeastern United States. The increased infection rate of COVID-19 in that part of the country, along with the continued uncertainties about having adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other protective measures in place would have made reopening these schools on schedule an unnecessary risk to students and staff.

DoDEA, in the information it sent to the Association, said the reason for delaying the openings was twofold:
"1) the shifts in the SY 2020/21 school calendars enable the schools to better meet the demands of returning to brick and mortar school operations in a persistent COVID-19 pandemic; and
2) the shifts better align the DoDEA school openings with similar delayed- opening decisions by the adjoining local school districts."

Furthermore, the information from DoDEA stated the length of the school year for the delayed school districts would not be shortened due to the delay.

In addition, management emphasized that, at all locations, DoDEA intends to return to brick-and-mortar operations with a full-time virtual option.

Wednesday evening (Eastern Time), management sent notice to the Association that it intended to begin offering a full-time virtual school option for all families and proposed timelines and practices for allowing educators to apply for the virtual schools, determining who will be assigned to those virtual schools, etc.

Of course, it remains the position of the Association that any changes to working conditions must be bargained with FEA and FEA-Stateside Region, as per terms of the legally valid contracts for Overseas and Stateside members, respectively.

The delayed openings announced by DoDEA Friday affect the bases listed below. At this time, no other delays have been announced for other locations. The Association will continue to raise concerns and press for answers from management to safeguard the health and safety of our members, their students and the military families served by our schools.

Summary of school calendar shifts for Americas Southeast District Schools:

1. Ft Campbell Schools - shift start date from AUG 3 to AUG 24 2020.
2. Ft Knox Schools - shift start date from AUG 3 to AUG 24 2020.
3. Ft Benning Schools - shift start date from AUG 10 to AUG 17 2020.
4. Ft Rucker Schools - shift start date from AUG 10 to AUG 24 2020.
5. Maxwell AFB School - shift start date from AUG 10 to AUG 24 2020.
6. Ft Stewart Schools - shift start date from AUG 3 to AUG 17 2020.
7. Ft Jackson Schools - shift start date from AUG 18 to AUG 24 2020.
8. Laurel Bay Schools - shift start date from AUG 17 to AUG 24 2020.

posted July 10, 2020

Authorized Departure Extended to August 10


DoDEA employees and/or their eligible family members who evacuated to safe haven locations under the Authorized Departure permission granted this past spring may remain at their safe haven until August 10.

The extension to August 10 was announced by the Department of State this week. DoDEA and other federal civilian employees, as well as their eligible family members, are under the Department of State guidelines. DoD has put out its own memo, authorizing the extension for DoD civilian employees, including DoDEA.

The extension applies only to those employees who had obtained their Authorized Departure and travel orders prior to May 7, 2020, and who are already at their safe haven locations. No new requests for Authorized Departures are being accepted at this time.

posted June 11, 2020

DOD Approves RAT Travel Exception


DOD has approved an exception from its travel ban to allow DoDEA and other civilian employees to take RAT travel. FEA has been lobbying DoDEA for this exception for several weeks.
Read the full update here

DoDEA KOREA SCHOOLS WILL STAY ON LOCKDOWN REMAINDER OF SCHOOL YEAR

posted May 15, 2020

DoDEA's Pacific West DSO announced today that virtual learning will continue in its South Korea schools for the remainder of the school year. DoDEA previously announced all other schools would remain closed to students but held out the possibility of its Korea schools reopening this year. Read the Stars and Stripes story here



SCHOOLS LOCKED DOWN FOR REMAINDER OF ACADEMIC YEAR

posted May 1, 2020

The DoDEA Director announced today that all schools worldwide (with the possible exception of those in South Korea) will remain closed to students for the remainder of the current school year. Online learning will continue until the scheduled end of the school year. The situation in South Korea is being evaluated for possible reopening of schools sometime in May.



CHECK DODEA SITE FOR UPDATED INFO ON AUTHORIZED DEPARTURES

posted April 28, 2020

DoDEA has updated its Authorized Departure information page to include additional answers to frequently asked questions submitted to them by FEA and through DoDEA's COVID 19 Help Desk. The posted information includes guidance issued since the DOD travel ban was extended to June 30. Most of the updated information can be found under the "FAQ" tab on this page. Answers are posted to common questions about the impact the Authorized Departure option could have on issues such as transportation, LQA, RAT and retirement.

DoDEA has advised that questions concerning the Authorized Departure option should be submitted through management to the HQ DoDEA COVID-19 Helpdesk at email: COVID19@dodea.edu or phone: 703-438-1075



ITALIAN SCHOOLS TO CLOSE UNTIL SEPTEMBER AS DODEA MULLS DECISION FOR ITS SCHOOLS IN EUROPE

posted April 27, 2020
Read the Stars and Stripes story here



EXTENSION OF TRAVEL BAN RAISES MANY QUESTIONS

posted April 19, 2020
FEA is bringing members' questions to DoDEA and asking they be addressed in any guidance the Agency releases. Read FEA's update here



DOD TRAVEL BAN TO LAST THROUGH JUNE 30

posted April 18, 2020
Stars & Stripes is reporting the ban on travel for DOD personnel and their dependents will be extended until June 30. Read the story here



PCS TRAVEL BAN TO EXTEND PAST MAY 11

posted April 14, 2020
Federal News Network reported Tuesday the Defense Department will extend the PCS travel ban beyond the current May 11 sunset date, though a new end date for the ban will not be announced for a few more days. Read the story here



WHAT HAPPENS TO COVID EVACUEES IF AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE ENDS DURING SUMMER BREAK?

posted April 14, 2020
A very common question among members considering evacuating to the U.S. under the current Authorized Departure program for those in foreign areas at higher risk of poor health outcome if exposed to COVID-19: what happens if the Authorized Departure option is not terminated until the summer recess period for DoDEA's Overseas schools.
Read about DoDEA's response to this question here



FOCUSED COLLABORATION PUT ON HOLD DURING SHUTDOWNS

posted April 10, 2020

Acting upon a request from FEA, DoDEA Director Tom Brady committed recently to suspending Focused Collaboration throughout DoDEA for the duration of the current school shutdowns, in order to diminish the stress and added responsibilities educators are dealing with.
Read FEA's update here



COVID "SAFE HAVEN" OPTION EXPANDED TO INCLUDE 50 STATES, DC

posted April 9, 2020

DoDEA employees in foreign areas who fear they are at a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 may now request to be evacuated to any of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, under updated guidance issued this week by the Department of State and DoDEA.

Also, in response to the many questions forwarded to them by FEA and sent in by employees, DoDEA has created a document with answers to common questions.

Read FEA's update here



Pentagon May Extend PCS Travel Ban Into Summer

posted April 8, 2020
The Stars and Stripes is reporting Pentagon officials are considering whether to extend the DOD ban on PCS travel, currently set to expire May 11. Possibilities included extending the ban across all of DOD as long as 60 additional days or leaving decisions about travel to individual services after the current ban expires. No decisions appear to have been made at this time. Read the Stripes article here



DoDEA REFERS EVAC QUESTIONS TO DSOs, PLANS FAQ SECTION ON INFO PAGE

posted April 6, 2020
DoDEA has created an information page about the employee option to request evacuation from foreign areas to Arlington, Virginia. For now, the Agency is referring questions to District Superintendents Offices but indicated it plans to post answers to common questions and a dedicated email address for Evacuation questions.
Read FEA's Update here



INFORMATION ON EVACUATION OPTION FOR DODEA EMPLOYEES IN FOREIGN AREAS

posted April 3, 2020
DoDEA employees in foreign areas who believe themselves to be at "higher risk" of exposure to COVID-19 may now request evacuation to Arlington, Virginia. FEA is seeking answers to a number of questions the evacuation option raises. Read our full update on the evacuation update here



DoDEA Schools in Korea, Japan To Remain Shuttered Beyond Spring Break

posted March 30, 2020

DoDEA officials have announced schools in South Korea and Japan will remain closed beyond the upcoming spring break and online learning will continue for the foreseeable future.
Read the Stripes story here



TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES

posted March 29, 2020

The 60-day ban on travel for DoD personnel and sponsored dependents is creating a lot of havoc for individuals in Overseas locations trying to schedule pack out dates, obtain RAT orders and make other plans related to summer travel and relocations. FEA has heard from many Overseas members about this situation and we are bringing those concerns to DoDEA. At this time, because of the ongoing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 situation in so many parts of the world, there is no definitive answer for how quickly the travel situation will be resolved. FEA is reminding DoDEA officials daily of the added stress and difficulty this uncertainty is creating for Overseas employees. We will continue to update members as the situation becomes clearer.

Stop Movement Order Issued for DOD Personnel and Family Members

posted March 25, 2020

Stars and Stripes is reporting the Secretary of Defense has issued a 60-day stop movement order for all DOD personnel, including civilian employees and sponsored family members stationed overseas.
Read the article here



Guantanamo Bay Schools Close to Students

posted March 24, 2020

DoDEA's WT Sampson ES/HS at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have closed to students as of today (March 24) and will make the switch to digital learning. With this move, all DoDEA schools worldwide are now closed to students due to the ongoing pandemic. WT Sampson students and parents can find digital learning resources at this site.
See the message from the DoDEA Mid-Atlantic Superintendent



DoDEA KOREA SCHOOLS TENTATIVELY SET TO REOPEN APRIL 13

posted March 20, 2020

DoDEA has set April 13 as a tentative date for reopening its schools in South Korea. Plans call for checking students' temperatures before they can board buses, installing hand sanitizer stations in schools and closely monitoring all students and staff for any signs of Coronavirus. The DoDEA schools in South Korea have been closed since late February. Read the story in the Stars & Stripes



THANK YOU AND UPDATE ON FEA DC OFFICE STATUS

posted March 20, 2020

FEA wishes to thank all members worldwide for your patience, sacrifices and incredible hard work during the ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns. Your efforts to maintain student learning during this crisis are simply incredible. A crisis such as this reminds everyone of the incredible importance of all school employees and the amazing work you do every day. Thank you for all your efforts!

FEA has not been unaffected by the pandemic. The National Education Association this week shut down its headquarters building in Washington DC, which houses the FEA DC office as well. As a result, all FEA DC staff are required to telework through at least March 31. The FEA DC staff are monitoring their emails and the phone system for our office while we are teleworking. We apologize for any delays this has caused in responding to member requests and messages. We hope to keep the disruptions to a minimum.

One important operation that unfortunately will be interrupted by this situation is the counting of ballots for the three Area offices to be elected this year to the FEA Board of Directors (FEA Director for DDESS, FEA Europe Area Director and FEA Pacific Area Director). Because we have no office in which to conduct the ballot count, that tally will have to be rescheduled once the FEA staff is again able to access the NEA building. Candidates for these three positions have been notified of the situation. Meanwhile, the deadline for receipt of ballots for these three positions remains this Tuesday, March 24. All ballots received by that date will be secured until the actual vote tally can take place.

It is a stressful time, but together we can and will get through it. Thank you again for your patience and for all you continue to do for DoDEA students and families!

NEA Digital Learning Resources

posted March 19, 2020

NEA has put out an info paper with critical tips and considerations for educators tasked with developing and implementing digital learning environments in reaction to COVID-19.

These are great resources. There are also links to educational resources. Those resources may or may not all be approved by DoDEA. If you have questions please check with your ET (Educational Technologist) and the approved digital resources.

Remember that the Information Specialist at your local school has a wealth of digital resources available in the DoDEA purchased databases. The Information Specialist can recommend items to support your digital delivery of lessons.



DoDEA SCHOOLS IN JAPAN, OKINAWA TO CLOSE AFTER FRIDAY

posted March 19, 2020

In a reversal, DoDEA has announced all schools in mainland Japan and Okinawa will close to students after classes this Friday (March 20). Students in some grades at Sullivans Elementary School at Yokosuka were told not to report to class on Friday after it was revealed two students at the school have been tested for Coronavirus. See this story from Stars & Stripes for more info



ALL EUROPE SCHOOLS TO BE CLOSED BY FRIDAY

posted March 18, 2020

DoDEA schools at Lakenheath will close to students by noon Friday, March 20. Once that happens, all DoDEA Europe schools will be closed to students. Educators at Lakenheath and a few locations will still undergo onsite training to help them conduct online learning while the schools are closed to students. It is expected by the middle of next week all Europe educators will have the option to work from home if they wish to do so. In many Europe locations that option will commence as early as Thursday (March 19). Educators who wish to still come into school for work may be allowed to do so, depending upon local command orders. Continue to look for information from your local base commands.



DODEA HAS NO PLANS TO CLOSE JAPAN SCHOOLS DUE TO VIRUS CONCERN

posted March 18, 2020

DoDEA officials have said they currently have no plans to close schools in Japan, despite Japanese schools having been closed for some time over concern of spreading coronavirus. The DoDEA officials indicated the situation could change if a virus case were to show up in a school. Read the Stars and Stripes story here



GUAM DoDEA SCHOOLS CLOSED

posted March 17, 2020

A day after saying it would keep the schools open, officials at DoDEA's Guam schools announced a decision to end classes immediately and remain closed at least through the upcoming spring break in early April. Read the story from Stars & Stripes here



CLOSURES ANNOUNCED FOR DAHLGREN, QUANTICO, MAXWELL AFB AND FORT STEWART

March 16, 2020

DoDEA has announced closure of schools at Quantico, Dahlgren, Maxwell Air Force Base and Fort Stewart, meaning all domestic DoDEA schools will be closed to students by the middle of this week.



LAUREL BAY AND FT JACKSON CLOSED MONDAY, RUCKER CLOSING WEDNESDAY

posted March 15, 2020

DoDEA Americas is closing schools to students at Laurel Bay and Fort Jackson beginning Monday, March 16, and at Fort Rucker beginning Wednesday, March 18.

For information on Laurel Bay go to this page

For information on Fort Jackson go to this page

For information on Fort Rucker go to this page




FORT BRAGG SCHOOLS CLOSING MONDAY

posted March 15, 2020

DoDEA's Fort Bragg schools will close to students at noon tomorrow (March 16) as a precaution against COVID-19. Employees have been told to report for professional development the remainder of that day and for the next several days, to prepare for online learning to begin later in the week.

Read the memo from DoDEA Americas announcing the closure at Fort Bragg by going to this link

For more information from DoDEA about the Coronavirus situation visit DoDEA's site

For more information on COVID-19 and learning resources go to NEA's Coronavirus page



LEJEUNE SCHOOLS CLOSING MONDAY

posted March 15

DoDEA schools at Camp Lejeune will close to students at noon on Monday, March 16, and will remain closed to students for the foreseeable future due to concerns about COVID-19. Employees have been told to report for professional development the remainder of that day and for the next several days, to prepare for online learning to begin later in the week.

For information from DoDEA visit this site

For more information on COVID-19 and learning resources go to NEA's Coronavirus info page




CAMPBELL, WEST POINT, BENNING CLOSURES ANNOUNCED

posted March 15, 2020

DoDEA has announced schools at Fort Campbell and West Point will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, and schools at Fort Benning will close beginning Wednesday, March 18, over concern about COVID-19.



DODEA SCHOOLS AT FORT KNOX SHUT DOWN AS OF MONDAY

posted March 14, 2020

It was announced Friday that the DoDEA schools at Fort Knox (KY) will be shutdown beginning Monday, March 16, due to Coronavirus. The move was taken, DoDEA says, as a precaution and not due to any known instances of the virus among students or staff at the school.

Association members should look for guidance from FEA-SR as the situation progresses. As of Saturday morning, Knox schools are the only DoDEA schools in the U.S. announced to be closed, though schools at Quantico were closed for a few days this past week for cleaning. The Quantico schools have since reopened.

As of Saturday, we have not heard of any other prolonged closures, though DoDEA schools in the Mid-Atlantic region are slated to be closed for the day this Monday (March 16) for a professional development day and further plans may be announced after that.

KOREA SCHOOLS REMAIN CLOSED

Also announced on Friday was a decision by DoDEA Pacific to keep all schools in South Korea closed until at least March 20.

Schools in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Bahrain will also be closed next week.

More on the coronavirus situation can be found at DoDEA's site with additional learning resources about the virus available at NEA's Coronavirus info page




SCHOOLS AT KNOX TO BE CLOSED AS OF MARCH 16

posted March 13, 2020
It's been announced Fort Knox schools will be closed as of Monday, March 16, the first long-term closure announced for DoDEA schools in the U.S. See this article in the Military Times



PANDEMIC SHUTS DOWN DODEA SCHOOLS IN GERMANY, BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS

posted March 13, 2020

As you know by now, the USAREUR Commander has decided that DoDEA schools in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands will be closed beginning Monday, March 16.

As was the case when schools were closed in South Korea, FEA is working with DoDEA to help ensure that student learning continues with as little disruption as possible while school buildings are closed.

Association representatives in Europe are reminded of the Memorandum of Agreement attached to the Overseas Negotiated Agreement, covering pandemic outbreaks such as this one, and are encouraged to work jointly with your local administration and command to help develop plans for learning.

That MOU is available at this link.

This model has worked very successfully so far in South Korea and it is the Association's hope that DoDEA will seek to replicate that success in the sections of Europe now being closed, and avoid the confusion and panic created in other DoDEA areas where this MOU was not in effect.

As always, we remind members to stay informed about all guidance and instructions from your local commands and to continue taking all possible steps to protect your health and safety, as well as that of your families and your students.



Brian Chance's March 12, 2020 FEA President's Report covers Coronavirus.

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Brian Chance, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: March 12, 2020

THANK YOU


Like the military students and families they serve, FEA members in many locations have been or soon may be directly impacted by closures, travel restrictions and other irregularities caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. I want to thank all FEA members worldwide for your amazing efforts throughout this situation.

As of this writing, schools in Korea have been shut down for nearly three weeks, yet learning has continued almost without interruption because of the efforts of our members there, who have worked cooperatively with the local DoDEA administration to quickly utilize digital learning resources available to them and, when necessary, learn and deploy new resources to help make sure student learning continues.

This week saw brief closures of the schools at Quantico in Virginia. Those schools have now reopened following cleanings but, of course, all members are reminded to take all possible precautions to remain healthy.

Schools in Italy and Bahrain have also been severely impacted and, although those schools are outside FEA's Overseas bargaining unit, we stand in solidarity with the educators at those locations as they also strive to continue student learning while also safeguarding the health and safety of all school staff and community members.

It has been stressful to be certain, but I have heard great things from members in the field and from DoDEA parents -- as well as from DoDEA management -- about the amazing work that has taken place, particularly in South Korea. Our members' efforts to maintain student learning are absolutely making a difference and are greatly appreciated by the communities they serve.

Thank you once again to all our members for your professionalism and calm in this very difficult situation. Situations such as this one prove beyond any doubt that you are the cornerstone of education in our schools.


VALUABLE RESOURCES


It is probably wishful thinking to hope there will be no further closures -- whether short term or long term -- at any DoDEA locations due to the current pandemic situation. For those looking for online learning resources and options, please check the link below, which provides a comprehensive list of education companies providing free subscriptions during school closures. I'm uncertain who put this list together, and while we are not endorsing these companies, it could prove valuable. List of ed companies providing free subscriptions (Be advised: we have heard DoDEA's interpretation of federal law may not allow for use of free resources such as these. Please check with your admin before attempting to make use of any resources on this list)

NEA also has put together a lot of useful information about coronavirus and links to outside resources to help explain the situation to your students (and to those of us who are not biology teachers). I encourage members to visit this site and utilize the information it provides, NEA Coronavirus page


OTHER CANCELLATIONS


Out of an abundance of caution, NEA cancelled several conferences scheduled for this month that would have been attended by FEA members and elected leaders. Those meetings included a leadership summit, the NEA Retired Conference and the Education Support Professionals annual gathering. On behalf of FEA, we thank the members who would have attended these sessions for their willingness to do so and also thank them for their patience and understanding following NEA's decision to cancel these meetings.


STAY SAFE


Of course, the health and safety of our members, their students and the military communities we serve is the most important thing right how. Because situations vary so much from country to country and even within each country, we remind our members of the importance of staying up-to-date on announcements, guidance and information from your local Commands. And, like everyone else in recent days, I remind you to take the most basic steps toward protection and containment: regularly washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home if you even suspect you may be sick or have been exposed to the virus.




posted February 27, 2020

TO: FEA OVERSEAS BARGAINING UNIT ASSOCIATION LEADERS AND MEMBERSHIP
RE: SCHOOL CLOSURES DUE TO VIRUS THREAT


As we continue to hear of new locations where COVID-19 (aka: coronavirus) has spread, and new instances of DoDEA schools being temporarily closed down in efforts to prevent the spread, the Association wants to call your attention to the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding on Pandemic Emergency Planning that is attached to the negotiated agreement for the Overseas bargaining unit.

That MOU can be viewed at this link.

The MOU makes clear that the continuity of educational services is paramount, to the fullest extent possible, in closure situations affecting DoDEA schools. In accordance with the MOU, emergency plans should be in place -- developed with input from your local Faculty Representative Spokesperson -- to provide for things like continuity in time and attendance reporting for payroll, management of work schedules and other issues related to administration of school staff. Protections for the safety of educators are built into the MOU and principals are tasked with collaborating with the FRS to address grading policies and are empowered to modify existing policies as needed during school closures.

At any school undergoing closure, educators will likely be using digital resources to support continuity in educational programs. The Pandemic Emergency Planning MOU does not go into specifics about how this should be done but states that FRSs should be included as plans are developed. The military community and parents will also play key roles in making sure any tele-teaching efforts are successful, so be certain to keep their concerns -- especially their very understandable anxieties about the threat this virus poses to children -- in mind as you and your members are asked to adapt to this ever-changing situation.

Above all else, the health and safety of all personnel, military and civilian, must take precedent, so you are reminded to follow all prescribed warnings and directives to help diminish the spread of this virus.

Also, if you do have questions or concerns about the practices -- professional or otherwise -- which you are asked to follow, please share those with your FRS so they can deal with them locally or, if necessary, elevate them. The FEA President has been in regular contact with DoDEA Headquarters to make sure they are aware of the Pandemic Emergency Planning MOU and to make sure our members' concerns are being heard and addressed. Similar communications are happening at all levels of the Association and DoDEA.

Thank you all for being a calming presence in your communities. We all know the continuation of schooling in situations like this is very important for children and for adults too. Your work is incredibly important every day, but that importance is never easier to see than during situations such as this, when "regular life" gets disrupted. Stay safe and healthy and continue to let the Association know how we can support you, as well as how we can urge DoDEA to best support educators and students during the coming weeks.

Again, you can review the MOU on Pandemic Emergency Planning for Overseas bargaining unit locations at this link