Atlanta Public Schools’ front-line workers to get ‘hero pay’ during virus shutdown

Volunteer Andrea Moribe hands out food to families at Sylvan Middle School on Saturday, April 4, 2020.  Atlanta Public Schools’ emergency meal distribution sites were swamped. After spring break, APS will pay front-line workers at a rate of time and a half.  (Photo: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)
Volunteer Andrea Moribe hands out food to families at Sylvan Middle School on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Atlanta Public Schools’ emergency meal distribution sites were swamped. After spring break, APS will pay front-line workers at a rate of time and a half.  (Photo: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Atlanta Public Schools will begin giving "hero pay" to essential workers who still must interact with the public or cannot shelter in place while doing their jobs.

The district's last day of in-person instruction was March 13, and school buildings will remain closed through the end of the school year in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Students and teachers are using distance and online learning to finish out the remainder of the year.

But some front-line district employees who work in departments such as safety, facilities and food and nutrition can’t do their jobs from home. APS will begin paying those employees at a rate of time and a half for hours they work, beginning April 13. The district currently is on spring break, so it has stopped its food distribution and many other operations this week.

During a news conference with reporters last week, Carstarphen called the pay increase a way to honor the contributions made by those who must report to work on-site: “We know that they are taking on a little more risk than most.”