Two staff members who have been uniquely instrumental in helping Morgan Hill Unified School District handle the Covid-19 crisis were honored by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors last week.
District Nurse Noel Weeks and Human Resources Specialist Kristin Stonehouse received the President’s Medal for Exemplary Service During the Covid-19 Pandemic at the Dec. 14 board meeting.
Weeks, who has 22 years of nursing experience, has worked for MHUSD since 2016, according to a press release from the district. She has been an “invaluable resource” for all varieties of communicable illnesses that may show up in the local schools.
Weeks is known among her colleagues as a natural leader who has made significant contributions to the ongoing discussions about the safe reopening of schools. She has served as the single point of contact with county public health officials for the reporting and notification of positive Covid-19 cases.
“She is collaborative, solutions-oriented, and works well under pressure,” MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando said. “She is truly one of our heroes!”
Stonehouse has worked for MHUSD since 2003. When the first shelter-in-place order came in March, Stonehouse quickly adapted previous district employment processes. She informed employees of new leave allowances and worked with district administrators on reassuring classified employees about the status of their jobs, according to MHUSD staff.
The district signed a Memorandum of Understanding with classified employees to reassign displaced workers instead of laying them off shortly after the pandemic began. Stonehouse was the district’s point of contact for reassigning 148 employees into work duties they had not previously done, reads the MHUSD press release.
Stonehouse also helped Weeks triage each positive Covid-19 case.
“During such a time of uncertainty, Kristin was a comfort to those she serves—labor and management alike,” Betando said. “She diligently researches the ever changing regulations to have accurate, updated responses.”
Winners of the board’s president’s medal were selected by a committee that includes Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez, Mercury News writer Sal Pizarro, County Executive Jeff Smith and Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Nicole Taylor.
Supervisor Mike Wasserman wrote to each recipient, “This has been a year of tremendous struggle for all of us living in Santa Clara County. The human cost of COVID-19 has been enormous, more than 500 lives lost and a staggering amount of sorrow and suffering. However, during this crisis our community has come together like never before thanks to the work of people such as yourself.”