From your chapter leader
By now, we’re well into the new school year and I hope you’re having a good semester.
First, I welcome our new nurses. An orientation for 39 nurses was held at UFT headquarters on Sept 11. UFT pension experts and Welfare Fund staff presented information about valuable union benefits including your pension and extensive health care coverage. We served breakfast and lunch, giving folks a chance to get to know each other.
We were also fortunate to have as our guest speaker, Paul Egan, UFT director of political action, who spoke to us about why we must vote NO on Nov. 7 on the ballot question of whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. (And, he reminded us, don’t forget to turn the paper ballot over! The questions are on the flip side.) Opening up the state constitution to complete revision during a convention could jeopardize our guaranteed pensions, the right to public education, workers’ compensation and our forever-wild nature preserves.
Flip the ballot and vote NO to holding a constitutional convention.
Before I sign off, I want to remind you that I value your ideas about the chapter and want to hear from you. That’s why attendance at our chapter meeting is so important. It provides us with an opportunity to discuss issues which affect our daily working conditions, workplace safety and workload.
Please get involved; together we can accomplish our goals.
School Nurses Chapter Leader
In accordance with the 2014 contract, UFT members on payroll who worked for the Department of Education between 2009 and 2017 will receive a lump-sum payment of 12.5 percent in October, representing one-seventh of the amount they have accrued between 2009 and 2017. That payment, which will be added to a regularly scheduled paycheck, is the second of five lump-sum payments between 2015 and 2020. (UFT members received the first payment of 12.5 percent of money owed in 2015.) For school nurses and other UFT titles on the H Bank payroll, the money will be in the Oct. 20 paycheck.
Office of Labor Relations meeting with Office of School Health and DC 37
The School Nurses Chapter met with the Office of School Health and District Council 37 on Sept. 18 to discuss a number of issues. Dr. Roger Platt, the CEO of the Office of School Health, was among the participants.
Staffing issues: Dr. Platt provided a staffing update; OSH is continually recruiting school nurses as hiring additional nurses is a priority.
Dr. Platt said 17 new DOE buildings have opened along with several new charter schools. This January, 50 nurses from the city Department of Health will transfer into the DOE. Dr. Platt stated that the DOH has also been recruiting new nurses, and has hired 95 new school nurses for this school year.
The UFT and DC 37 have suggested establishing a float pool for nursing coverage. While this is not a new suggestion, Dr. Platt indicated he was more open to the idea especially in the Bronx since, historically, it is the hardest borough to staff. He asked the unions to submit a proposal for this initiative.
Payroll issues: The UFT requested that the DOE increase funding for the salary cap so that school nurses do not have to wait so long for overtime pay. This is an incessant problem for some nurses working in afterschool programs and in some charter schools.
OSH has asked for more information on how this salary cap affects school nurses. They are looking for a case study. If you have experienced a significant delay in receiving overtime payment, please let us know by visiting the School Nurse Chapter page on the UFT website. Click on the Salary and Benefits link and fill out a General Salary Inquiry Form or an Overtime Waiver Inquiry Form. A UFT salary representative will contact you within a week. (If you do not hear from anyone, please email me at email@example.com with the information.)
New member orientations
Half of the 39 school nurses who attended an orientation at UFT headquarters on Sept. 11 were new hires for District 75. We scheduled our next orientation for Monday, Nov. 13. We expect about 45 nurses to attend, 20 of whom will work in District 75. We now have 692 members in our chapter and we’re still growing. Exciting times for our chapter!
Teacher's Choice update
In August, the UFT sent an email blast to school nurses about receiving $85 in Teacher's Choice funding for the 2017-18 school year. For more information, please see the DOE's Teacher's Choice guidelines or visit the School Nurses Chapter page on www.UFT.org. For your reference, we’ve included Appendix C: For Nurses Acceptable Usage of Teacher’s Choice Funds from the DOE guidelines below:
Teacher’s Choice funds may only be used to purchase the following:
Posters for medical room, adhesive notes/Post-its, page protectors, binders, desk calendar, paper towels, tissues, Sharpie highlighters, red and black pens, pocket folders, tape, reinforcement circles, borders for bulletin board, staples, rubber bands, legal pads, markers, baggies to put ice in, ice trays, calculator, A to Z page dividers, X-Large zip-lock bags and pencil boxes to put the epi pens.
Please note: All receipts must be kept along with the Statement of Purpose/Accountability Form. For more information about the program, please see the Teacher’s Choice section of the UFT website and the DOE’s Teacher’s Choice website.
The $85 will be included in your paycheck. Do not spend the money on anything but these Teacher's Choice items.
DOE/ACS child abuse policy
The Panel for Educational Policy adopted substantial changes to Chancellor’s Regulation A-750 - Child Abuse and Maltreatment Prevention at its Sept. 26 meeting. The revised regulation has been posted on the DOE website.
Among the changes affecting school nurses are new requirements concerning photographing visible signs of suspected child abuse or maltreatment. The UFT is reviewing the new regulation.
Are you documenting the training you do with your staff?
School staff members regularly interact with students with specific medical conditions including asthma, seizures and hypoglycemia/hyperglycemia; school nurses regularly review the symptoms and signs of those conditions with the appropriate school staff.
We know you do the training. But how many of you are documenting it in the Automated Student Health Record (ASHR)? Like the old adage says: “If it’s not documented, it wasn’t done”
Make sure you document all your training in a student’s case management file. You can also document your open airway training, Healthy Options and Physical Activity Program (HOP) training and Epi-pen training in the ASHR event module.
Make sure you include the name of the person you trained in your documentation.
Federation of Nurses/UFT Professional Issues Conference
The brochures for the Professional Issues Conference are being mailed as we write this newsletter. The conference will be held at the Westin New York Grand Central, 212 E. 42nd St., Manhattan, on Nov. 17-18.
If you are interested in attending, please make sure you file the appropriate forms and discuss coverage with your supervisor. For more information and to register, please see the event listing.
UFT members can get reduced-cost solar panels
Summer is over but the sting of summer’s high utility bills, especially from air conditioning, lingers. Members who live in New York State can now cut their utility costs while helping to combat climate change by switching to solar power through a UFT Member Benefits-endorsed solar program. American Solar Partners, the UFT’s endorsed solar installer, offer major features, including: a 5 percent discount on solar panels for UFT members and their families; tax credits and grants to cover up to 75 percent of the cost; and no upfront costs if you qualify for a solar loan. American Solar Partners will handle all paperwork. All equipment is U.S.-made and IBEW union-installed. American Solar Partners can give you a free estimate of your savings. For more information on the program, visit the American Solar Partners' website. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914-699-3366.
Membership meetings and events
School Nurse General Membership Meeting Dates 2017-18:
All meetings are at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 4 to 6 p.m.
The next meeting is Oct. 25 on the 19th floor, Room D/E. The remaining dates are: Dec. 20, Feb. 28, April 11, May 9 and June 6.
Please save the date: We’re holding our annual school nurse dinner on May 9 at 4:30 p.m. at the UFT headquarters. Please mark that date in your calendars.
Executive Board members
Executive Board members
Cynthia Bennett (Queens)
Beverly Briggs (Bronx)
Janet Carter (Queens)
Ellen Sebastiano (Brooklyn)
Marie Thompson (District 75)
Jessie Warren (Queens)
BJ Darby, PM Staffer