SEBB Update: Long-term disability insurance

During the annual open enrollment, employees not enrolled in supplemental Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance have a one-time opportunity to enroll without providing evidence of good health.

LTD insurance replaces part of your income when you have a covered illness or injury. It helps with financial obligations that health insurance won’t cover, such as rent/mortgage, groceries, or other expenses. It also helps protect your savings, retirement, and overall financial health if you become disabled.

  • Basic LTD insurance is employer-paid and offers a maximum benefit of $400 a month.
  • Supplemental LTD insurance offers a maximum monthly benefit up to $10,000 based on your salary.

The advantages of enrolling in supplemental LTD insurance during open enrollment include:

  • Online enrollment through SEBB My Account.
  • No evidence of good health required when enrolling for the first time during 2020.
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions will be provided under the Continuity of Coverage provision for employees who had prior LTD coverage through December 31, 2019.

The supplemental LTD coverage will be effective January 1, 2021, if you choose to enroll during annual open enrollment.

For more information, visit HCA’s website Long-term disability insurance webpage.

Visit HCA’s website for help logging in to SEBB My Account

Interested in other supplemental coverages that are offered by the district, please visit NW Benefit Advisors for cancer, short term disability and many more!

If you have any questions regarding open enrollment please email sebb@osd.wednet.edu

Sign up for Teacher Webpage Training on Zoom Nov. 19

Shallow view of Mac laptop

There is still space available for next week’s Teacher Webpage training. This training, led by Community Relations Coordinator Conor Schober, is for OSD teachers interested in creating, editing and curating online content for a teacher website on school webpages.

This SchoolMessenger Teacher Webpage Training will take place on Thursday, Nov. 19. It will be online, via Zoom, from 5-7 p.m. Please have a device available that you regularly use for work purposes.

To sign up for this training via PdEnroller simply visit this link. There you will find all the necessary Zoom details.

United Way annual giving campaign continues through end of November

Olympia School District’s annual United Way giving campaign launched on November 2 and runs through Monday, November 30. This year all pledges should be submitted online.

United Way is a national organization that provides a multitude of services to thousands of people right here in the Olympia community, including many of the students and families served by the school district.

Donations through the United Way support a variety of organizations. In past years, United Way has supported organizations such as the Thurston Food Bank, Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB), Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County and the Olympia School District Education Foundation. United Way also supports the Reading Buddy Program on an annual basis.

Mike Leonard, Director of Community Engagement, also shared that United Way of Thurston County will be providing remote learning grants to each of the Thurston County school districts, including $15,000 to OSD.

Additional details about the United Way of Thurston County can be found on its website.

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Mike Leonard at MLeonard@unitedway-thurston.org.

All online pledge forms need to be completed no later than November 29.

View the online pledge form. 

Meet our newest Everyday Hero!

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout-out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here is our newest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Joan Moore, Teacher-Librarian, McLane Elementary School

Here at McLane, I would like to nominate JOAN MOORE, our school librarian. She has worked hard to connect with students. She has a Zoom book club, which is really cool. Students are checking out books via our webpage. She sits by the front door of the school at certain times so families can pick up books. When books are returned she has a process for them to be in quarantine. AND last week was MAP testing, oh ya she did it! She organized, solved tech issues, popped in and out of each classroom Zoom session, and supported teachers the whole week. Thank you Joan for what you do for the students and staff. Your hard work is noticed and appreciated! You rock!
Submitted by Amy Long, Paraeducator, McLane ES

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write “Everyday Heroes” in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.

SEBB update: Spouse and state-registered domestic partner coverage

If you are not covering a spouse or state-registered domestic partner under your SEBB medical coverage for 2021, the information below does not apply.

In late October, the SEBB Program mailed letters to employees who are required to attest to the spouse or state-registered domestic partner coverage premium surcharge for 2021 during the annual open enrollment (October 26 through November 23).

If you cover a spouse or state-registered domestic partner (SRDP) on your medical plan, you may be required to attest for 2021 if:

  • You currently pay the $50 spouse or SRDP coverage premium surcharge, or
  • Your spouse or SRDP is enrolled under your SEBB medical coverage instead of their employer-based group medical, but you did not have to pay the surcharge in 2020 because either:
    • The Spousal Plan Calculator indicated your spouse or SRDP’s coverage was not comparable, or
    • The medical premium for your spouse or SRDP’s employer-based medical coverage was $109.26 per month or more.

To confirm whether you need to attest, log into SEBB My Account. If you are required to attest during the annual open enrollment, the following message will display: “You are required to complete your spousal attestation again for open enrollment.”

How do I attest?

To attest, log in to SEBB My Account and select Attestations. Answer Yes or No to questions 1 through 6 by November 23, 2020.

If your spouse or SRDP has other employer-based group medical coverage, you may need to gather information about the available medical plans to complete the 2021 Spousal Plan Calculator, if directed to do so.

If required, you must attest by November 23, 2020. If you are required to attest but do not, or if your attestation results in incurring the premium surcharge, you will be charged the $50 spouse or SRDP coverage premium surcharge in addition to your monthly medical premium starting January 1, 2021. The $50 premium surcharge will remain in effect for the rest of 2021 unless you have a qualifying event that allows you to change the attestation.

Visit HCA’s website for help logging in to SEBB My Account

Acrobat Pro Accessibility Part 2 – Repairing Language, Title and Alternative Text Errors

Two people meeting in front of a laptop.

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, continues the series on creating accessible documents within Adobe Acrobat Pro. Please email Robert with any accessibility tips or questions.

Last week’s blog post covered enabling the Accessibility Tools Pane and running an accessibility check within Acrobat Pro. This week we’ll cover repairing some of the more common errors encountered when using the Acrobat Pro Accessibility Checker.

Primary Language

The primary language of a document is important, as it tells the screen reader which language and pronunciation to use. If you are seeing “Primary language – Failed” in your Acrobat accessibility checker, follow these steps to repair it:

  1. In the Accessibility Checker pane, select “Primary language- Failed”
  2. Right Click and select “Fix.”
  3. Acrobat will attempt to detect the document language. If it is incorrect, select the language from the drop-down.
  4. Click ok.

If your document’s language isn’t listed as an option, you can manually set the language using three letter ISO 639-2 language codes. A comprehensive list of ISO language codes is available on the Library of Congress website. To manually set the language using one of these codes:

  1. Go to File>Properties
  2. Select the Advanced tab
  3. Under Reading Options, type the corresponding language code into the Language field. For instance, if the document’s language was Vietnamese, we would enter ‘Vie’ in the language field.
  4. Click OK.

Title

The title field of a document allows the screen reader user to hear the title as they enter a document. It is typically displayed in the toolbar above your document. To fix the title error, follow these steps:

  1. In the Accessibility Checker pane, select “Title – Failed.”
  2. Right click and select “fix.” This will apply your document’s filename to the document. 

If you would like a different document title:

  1. Click File > Properties
  2. Enter a title into the “Title” field and click OK.

Figures alternative text – Failed

When assistive technologies such as a screen reader encounter an image, they require alternative text to describe the image to the user. Effective alternative text defines both the content and the function of the image. A simple experiment when writing alternative text is to imagine if the image was missing – would the alternative text convey the entirety of the image’s message?

To fix the alternative text error within Acrobat Pro:

  1. In the Accessibility Checker, expand “Alternate Text”, then “Figures alternate text – Failed”, then select “Figure 1”. The corresponding figure will highlight.
  2. Right click “Figure 1” in the Accessibility Checker, and select “Fix.” A pop-up window will appear. Enter the alternative text, or select “decorative figure”.
  3. If there are multiple errors, select the right arrow and make your way through them, adding text as required.
  4. When you are done, click “Save & Close.”

Thank you for your work in creating accessible PDFs. In our next post in the series, we’ll cover using the Tags Pane, a powerful tool that is fundamental to PDF accessibility. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding using Acrobat Pro or other accessibility concerns, please reach out to Robert Hardy in the Communications and Community Relations Department.

Expect phone and file server interruptions on Nov. 11 due to technology maintenance

A bank of wires for a data server and a hand with a tool adjusting technology equipment

The Technology Department will perform essential infrastructure maintenance work starting at 12 noon next Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day – no school). This work will bring down the phone system (including Rainbow) and the Edison file server. It will also create potential hiccups with wireless service throughout the duration of the work.

Internet access should be normal, aside from possible wireless hiccups. The Technology Department expects to complete the work on Wednesday evening and will notify staff once the maintenance is complete and services are restored.

Latest version of Return to Work Safety Plan posted on website

Grouping of blue disposable face masks.

Read the latest version (Version 4.2) of the OSD COVID-19 Pandemic Return to Work Safety Plan. The plan is posted on the staff Intranet, so be sure to sign in to Google to access the file, which is located under Departments, Safety & Risk Management. A copy of the plan is also posted on the district Internet site on the Support Services Department webpage, on the COVID-19 Response Protocol webpage, and on the In-Person and Remote Learning Updates webpage.

The latest changes to the pan include:

  • Page 1 under Item 2: Line D was added (Attestation).
  • Page 1 under item 3: “Sign out” language was removed.
  • Page 5 Health and Isolation Rooms by Location: Transportation, Knox 111 and SSC have been added to this table.
  • Pages 12-15: Pages have been updated to reflect the most current publication date (October 14, 2020) from Thurston County Public Health and Social Services. No other information has changed in the flowcharts from the previous version of our Safety Plan.

Please remember to follow all safety and health protocols outlined in the plan.

OSDEF kicks off automatic payroll deduction campaign

OSDEF Logo with image of stick figures of an adult and children and the name of the Foundation beneath

This week the Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) launched its annual Automatic Payroll Deduction campaign, which allows OSD employees to make a monthly donation in support of the Foundation’s programs, including the Principal’s Emergency Fund, Teaching & Learning Grants and Mental Health Initiative. Since 1998, the Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million in grants and programs to OSD students and educators.

Donations in any amount can have a significant impact, ranging from funding Teaching and Learning grants to providing Internet access to students in need.

To sign up for Automatic Payroll Deduction, visit https://www.osdef.org/donate, scroll down to the OSD logo, then click the “Payroll Deduction” button. Enter the amount you wish to donate, then select “I would like to make my donation ongoing” if you prefer that option. Once you’ve added your building, first and last name, work email and phone number, you’re all set.

Employees already making a monthly donation through OSD Payroll do not need to re-enroll.

Deductions for online forms submitted by Dec. 15, 2020 will begin Jan. 1, 2021. After the first of the year, deductions for forms submitted by the 15th of any month will begin on the 1st of the following month.

As always, donations will be directed where they are needed most.  Questions? Contact OSDEF Executive Director Katy Johansson at katy@osdef.org.

Kudos to newest Everyday Hero; send us yours!

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout-out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here is our newest honoree:

Everyday Hero
Heather Muske, Teacher, Special Education, Madison Elementary School

Heather, I want to thank you for being an outstanding addition to Madison Elementary. Being new, and during this crazy time, you have been the support we have all needed. You spend countless hours loving our students, making plan after plan, supporting teachers and being truly dedicated to serving the community. I just want you to know how amazing I think you are and how much I really do appreciate all of your hard work!
Submitted by Jessica Martin, Teacher, Madison ES

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (communications@osd.wednet.edu) a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write “Everyday Heroes” in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.