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Instructional Issues

Read the DOE guidance on blended and remote learning teaching roles.  

Read the UFT-DOE Memorandum of Agreement, 9/25/20

If I am working on site at a school with in-person students, can I be required to livestream my lessons to remote students?

No, it cannot be mandated and it cannot be expected. Teachers have the sole discretion to volunteer to livestream their classroom. Teachers can be asked by an administrator if they plan to livestream; however, no teacher can be encouraged or compelled to livestream and it cannot be included in any SBO process. 

What is the difference between live instruction and live streaming?

Live instruction (or synchronous instruction) for remote teachers can be defined as some live interaction between the teacher and students, each day at a scheduled time, at the discretion of the teacher via platforms like Zoom or Google Meet, etc. Live streaming, on the other hand, refers to a teacher broadcasting in-person instruction in order to share lessons simultaneously with remote students via video. Teachers cannot be mandated to live stream by any supervisor and it cannot be included in any SBO process. 

In rare circumstances, remote teachers can be asked to teach remotely to in-person students. While this is not ideal, it may be the only option if, for example, there is only one physics teacher and she or he has a medical accommodation.  

Are there specific amounts of time teachers are required to provide live instruction for students?

In the Blended Learning Agreements document, there are minimum amounts of time listed for synchronous/live instruction according to student grade level, along with suggested times for asynchronous learning on a daily basis.

How does the UFT-DOE agreement of 9/25/20 relate to the Instructional Principles and Programming Guidance and the Blended Learning Class-Size Agreement?

This agreement incorporates those prior agreements and refers to them as the Blended Learning Agreements (BLA).

My school created a program that differs from the Blended Learning Agreements. Can we keep the program we created? 

Yes, subject to SBO approval.

My school wants to change the program we created. Can we change it?

Yes, subject to SBO approval.

What parts of the Blended Learning Agreements can be changed?

The following items can be changed via SBO: instructional coordination, preparation periods, office hours, instructional lunch, workday, class size, teacher programs and instructional modalities (blended in-person, blended remote and fully remote).

Are these the only items that can be subject to an SBO vote this school year?

No, many traditional SBO modifications can be done. The list above refers only to the Blended Learning Agreements.

Does the 9/25/20 agreement change the SBO process?

No. However, in the unique circumstance that the school’s current program does not comply with the Blended Learning Agreements and the principal and chapter leader do not agree to bring that program to an SBO vote, we’ve negotiated an escalation process to attempt to find a resolution that includes the superintendent and DR.

In the event an agreement cannot be reached to bring the program to an SBO vote, the school must be programmed in accordance with the Blended Learning Agreements.

Does this escalation process described above apply to all SBOs?

No, it applies only to SBOs related to the Blended Learning Agreements.

Can an elementary school teacher be assigned to teach multiple grades? 

No changes to the DOE-UFT contract were made on this issue.  As always, classroom elementary school teachers are assigned to a group of students on a grade (with the exception of classes that are ordinarily composed of students from multiple grades), while cluster teachers can be assigned to teach multiple groups of students on one or more grades. 

What do I do if my class size violates the limits negotiated for blended and fully remote learning? 

The DOE agreed to these class size limits, so schools must comply. In many cases, the blended learning model requires more teaching staff than traditional learning.  Administrators were asked to request additional teachers in order to sufficiently staff blended learning.  If you have concerns, speak with your chapter leader or district representative about filing an operational issues report.  

Do I have to be logged into a specific platform during my preparation period at the end of the school day? 

No. Preparations periods are for unassigned professional work. Teachers can take their preps remotely.

Does the agreement of 9/25/20 change my right to do my preparation period remotely?

No. 

How many consecutive teaching periods can middle and high school teachers be assigned?  

No changes to the DOE-UFT contract were made on this issue.  Wherever administratively possible, secondary school teachers should not be programmed to more than three consecutive teaching assignments.   

Can I be assigned small group instruction as a professional activity? 

Yes, you can. No changes to the DOE-UFT contract were made on this issue.  Teachers in schools that have professional periods can be assigned professional activities consistent with the contract. This professional activity assignment, however, cannot result in teachers being assigned additional classes to teach.   

Can an elementary school remote teacher be assigned a bridge class if this is not the ordinary practice of the school?

No, not without an SBO vote approved by the staff. 

Can teachers in middle schools teach three or four subjects? 

No changes to the DOE-UFT contract were made on this issue. Under the contract, the number of subjects in your program should be kept to the minimum number administratively possible.  

How long is the workday for in-person teachers and paraprofessionals? 

The workday will be 6 hours and 50 minutes. Teachers and paraprofessionals will have a duty-free lunch period as required by the DOE-UFT contract. 

I am a teacher with a medical accommodation. To what type of program can I be assigned? 

Teachers with accommodations will be assigned programs of fully remote or blended remote students.  All efforts shall be made to assign all teachers to a program that is exclusively of one type. 

I am a teacher without a medical accommodation. To what type of program can I be assigned? 

Teachers without accommodations may be assigned to any type of program: blended in-person, blended remote, or fully remote. Your school must make every effort to assign teachers to a program that is exclusively of one type. The UFT and the DOE are in discussion about establishing common-sense policies regarding work that can be done remotely. 

Can I be assigned a program that includes both in-person classes and remote classes?

Under the Blended Learning Agreement, all efforts must be made to assign teachers to classes of one modality: remote, blended remote or in-person. However, if a school community would prefer to utilize mixed modalities, it may do so via the SBO process.

When will teachers plan for instruction? 

All staff will have a daily 30-minute instructional coordination period before the students’ instructional day begins to coordinate instruction and plan together. Teachers will also receive a 30-minute prep period at the end of the school day. Teachers will not be required to be in the school building during the prep period time and can engage in this unassigned professional work remotely. 

Will there be a Parent Engagement period this school year? 

Teachers will have 20 minutes daily of office hours scheduled during the workday to communicate with families and students. 

When will faculty and grade/department conferences take place this year? 

Schools will have one faculty and one grade/department conference per month. These conferences will be 40 minutes each and will occur at the end of the school day, immediately prior to the teachers’ 30-minute prep. During this time, principals may assign teachers to administrative duties or professional learning.  The UFT and the DOE are in discussion about establishing common-sense policies regarding work that can be done remotely. 

What’s going on with the Virtual Content Specialist (VCS) position?

Now that we have reached this agreement, the VCS position will be posted in the coming days.