The following update was sent to all social workers and psychologists from Chapter Leader Raul Garcia on Wednesday, April 15.
I hope this message finds you and your family in good health.
The city Department of Education and the UFT have issued a number of guidelines to support your remote work. I want to offer a summary of the guidelines that are pertinent to our chapter and to provide some chapter-specific updates related to our current circumstances.
I hope this information addresses some of the questions and concerns you've brought to me.
- Time and attendance: We should submit the online Attendance Reporting Form every Friday by 3 p.m. School timekeepers will use this information to update attendance and timekeeping in EIS, which remains the system of record. For members who support multiple schools, your payroll school or DOE central will handle your timekeeping, depending on your program. Although the expectation is that we're flexible, you should not be asked to work outside your contractual work hours. If you are directed to work hours outside your contractual hours, please contact me. For more information, see the UFT post about the new attendance policy.
- Recording therapy sessions: Clinicians, supervisors and parents should not record live therapy sessions or meetings without the consent of every party.
- Remote assessment: Some assessments are to be conducted remotely, primarily rating scales and questionnaires that we would have been able to provide remotely prior to this period of remote learning. When appropriate, please use these tools to assess your students' needs. You should receive access to the digital versions of these assessments from your supervisor. You as the clinician decide which assessments are appropriate.
- Mandated counseling: While learning from home, students will receive remote counseling. As a result, parental consent is not warranted and counseling sessions can be held via telephone. The DOE and the UFT are currently discussing the issue of clinicians logging mandated sessions, and we'll send guidance once it's available. In the meantime, please check our FAQ for related service providers.
- Mandated reporting: If a student expresses any negative intent or shares that they are being harmed, remember we are mandated reporters and must follow DOE protocols in Chancellors Regulations A-750 and A-755. Some schools have set their own mandated reporting protocols for their staff; if you work in one of these schools, continue to follow the protocols your school has given you. However, if you work in a school where there has been no discussion on mandated reporting, the UFT has provided these steps on mandated reporting while working remotely that our chapter should follow.
- Per session evaluation work: Per session activities for evaluations came to a stop as a result of the school closure. However, many of you have completed evaluations for which you have not yet written reports. We reached an agreement with the DOE regarding when you can write your reports and how you'll be compensated. Your supervisor should have shared that agreement with you. If you haven't received it, please email your per session site supervisor and me.
- Social Workers Appreciation Day certificates: Many of you joined us for our Social Workers Appreciation Day professional development event on March 3. As a result of the crisis, your Continuing Education Unit (CEU) certificates were delayed. You should receive your certificate by email by next Friday, April 24. If you don't receive it, please email me.
- Ongoing issues: I've heard your questions about clustering, Turning 5 and other items specific to our chapter's members. I want to assure you that the UFT is discussing these and other issues with the DOE. We'll be in touch as soon as we have guidance to offer.
- Stay connected: In addition to myself, our chapter has several elected representatives who are available to answer your questions. You can find their contact information on our chapter website. It's important to stay connected, especially during an unsettling time like this, so please also follow our chapter on Instagram at @SWPsyChapter and join our chapter's Facebook group.
Please stay in touch and continue bringing your concerns to me if they weren't addressed in this email. We're in this together, and your union is working hard to make remote work as successful as possible for all of us.
Stay healthy and safe.