Some UFT members will not be able to report to work in person due to medical conditions that put them at higher risk. The DOE created an online application for UFT members to apply for medical accommodations that could allow them to work from home. The DOE sent an email to all employees to their DOE email address in July with instructions about how to complete the application online and submit the required supporting documentation from a medical provider.
Here is the information that the DOE sent to principals regarding the application process. It is important to note that anyone seeking such an accommodation must apply on the electronic form, even if they have already applied on the paper form.
COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodations Process for Fall 2020
Employees who are at a heightened risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 may be eligible for a reasonable accommodation to work from home/remotely. The medical conditions as set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are a guide to what will be considered a heightened risk. These conditions, while not exclusive, have been identified as high risk by the CDC as they relate to COVID-19.
DOE is modifying its reasonable accommodation request process and will be able to accept COVID-19-related reasonable accommodation requests electronically. By July 15, school-based staff will receive instructions at their DOE email address on how to complete the application online, as well as how to submit the required supporting documentation from a medical provider. The combined application and supporting documentation will be reviewed consistent with overall policies for reasonable accommodations, including informing the staff member’s principal of the general request. No accommodation request should be filed until this process is opened. Final determinations of an accommodation request may not be sent until later in August, but early completion of the application will help facilitate a faster review.
For more information about general accommodations, please email RARequest@schools.nyc.gov.
Please be aware of the following:
- Reasonable accommodations may only be granted for an employee's own disability. School staff who are unable to work at a school or DOE site for other non-disability reasons (e.g. child care, health of others in their household) may seek other options, such as leaves, but are not eligible for a reasonable accommodation to work remotely.
- If you are not seeking an accommodation, but do not intend to return to your school for other reasons (e.g. resignation, retirement), we encourage you to let your principal know in a timely manner so appropriate planning can take place. This process is not for this purpose.
- Any accommodation provided is subject to review and change.
If the DOE denied your request for COVID-19 medical accommodations for the 2020-21 school year, you may submit an online COVID-19 medical accommodations assistance form to the union. A UFT representative will review your accommodation denial and recommend next steps based on the circumstances of your denial.