CHTU Update 7.9.20 - Salary Notice, COVID FAQ

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Dear Colleagues,
So much has happened since our last update.  There were over 200 people watching the board meeting on Tuesday.  We have heard so many of your concerns and we are working daily in our office to address them with administration.  We appreciate all your feedback. Your safety and the safety of our students is our priority.

Unfair Labor Practice (ULP)
Last week we all received our salary notices for the upcoming 20/21 school year.  We were hoping that they were sent in error as salary advancements based on experience steps were not  included, but it was confirmed by Superintendent Kirby that salary notices would have step increases.  This is unacceptable and we have filed an Unfair Labor Practice with the State Employment Relations Board.

Covid Survey:
We have 256 responses so far to our COVID survey. If you have not yet taken the survey click on this link


1.      I am considered high-risk for the corona virus and do not feel safe returning to in-person teaching, but I am able to work remotely.  What are my options?

You have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and should see your doctor so you can obtain the necessary medical documentation to request a reasonable accommodation to work from home. You should not be required to take a leave of absence.

 The Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) lists the following impairments that place individuals at a greater risk of harm from COVID-19: asthma (moderate to severe); chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis; chronic lung disease (such as COPD); diabetes (types 1 or 2 or gestational); liver disease; hemoglobin disorders (such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia); being immunocompromised (due to cancer treatment, immune deficiencies, HIV, or other conditions); heart disease; and severe obesity.  In addition, an employee whose mental condition is heavily affected during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a preexisting mental disorder may also be considered disabled under the ADA.  (link here for more information on how to make a claim)

2.      Is working remotely a reasonable accommodation and not an undue hardship under the ADA?

 Yes, in most cases.  After it has been determined that an employee is disabled under the ADA, the inquiry shifts to whether the employee is seeking a reasonable accommodation and whether the accommodation posed an undue hardship on the employer.  Our union leadership  believes that, in most cases, working remotely is a reasonable accommodation and not an undue hardship for the District given the fact that CHTU members worked remotely for the last quarter of the prior school year. 

3.      What if I live with or are caring for a family member who is high-risk?  Am I protected under the ADA?

No, but you have other options.  Employees who do not have preexisting conditions that render them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 complications but have family members or other individuals at home who are high-risk, are not entitled to an accommodation under the ADA.  However, you have other protections available.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) is a new federal law which states that a full-time employee who (1) is subject to a quarantine order; (2) has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, or (3) is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis, may take up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. These 80 hours of sick leave is in addition to, and independent of, whatever sick leave hours you have accrued. 

If you are caring for a child or other family member who is subject to a quarantine order, has been advised to self-quarantine, or is experiencing symptoms, you are also entitled to 80 hours of additional sick leave, but only at the 2/3 rate.  Under our contract, you are entitled to make up the other 1/3 from your accumulated sick leave.  You are also entitled to Family Medical Leave (which comes out of your sick leave bank) or medical leave, as provided under Article 9 of the CBA.

            If you are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to a COVID-19 related reason, you are entitled to 80 hours of additional paid leave at the 2/3 rate, and 10 weeks of FMLA, also paid at the 2/3 rate.

 Bureau of Workers’ Compensation 
In Ohio, the BWC will only allow a COVID-19 claim if an employee works in a job that poses a special hazard or risk (compared to the general public) and contracts COVID-19 from the work exposure.  Typically, jobs such a peace officer, emergency responder, or healthcare provider are considered to pose a greater risk of COVID-19 than other jobs. Teachers, related service providers, and paraprofessionals are not yet considered to be at a greater risk, and their COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims are unlikely to succeed unless the employee can demonstrate that he or she contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

 In Union,
Karen Rego
CHTU President