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Personnel

To read the DOE's full guidance on COVID-19 related personnel issues, go to: DOE PERSONNEL MEMORANDUM NO. 2, 2020-2021

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

I have no on-site duties or responsibilities at my school. Can I work remotely?

UFT-represented employees who have no on-site duties or responsibilities may work remotely as of Monday, October 5, 2020. This applies to people who have full days of remote responsibilities, or who have duties that can be performed remotely when students are not in the building.

I have a remote program, but I prefer to work from the school building. Can I do that?

Yes, if your school is able to provide the proper space and equipment, and follow safety guidelines and procedures, you can work on-site. Also, each school can keep up to 20% of staff with remote programs in the school on any given day. These on-site positions will be given to remote teachers who express a need or desire to work on-site.

If I have a partial remote program in the morning or afternoon, can I perform this work remotely?

Yes. If your schedule permits and the work can be done remotely, you can work remotely. Supervisors can direct you to be on-site if you are needed.

I am working in-person. Are there times I can work remotely during the school day?

Yes. More information soon will be available in a forthcoming Work Guidance, which will detail the implications for office hours, instructional coordination and other work responsibilities.

What should I do if I must report to work at school but don't have childcare for my own children on days when they are remote?

If your child is enrolled in a NYC public school in 3K through 8th grade, they may be eligible to attend the Department of Education’s Learning Bridges program on days when they are learning remotely. Children of DOE employees will receive priority in the program, which will provide 100,000 seats by the end of 2020. You can learn more about Learning Bridges and apply. You should also know that most DOE employees are eligible for two weeks of excused leave at partial pay for the care of a minor child whose school or place of care has been closed or whose child care providers are unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. Read about the eligibility criteria for this type of leave and other DOE guidance on staff attendance, leave and timekeeping policies during the pandemic.

Will I be paid if I test positive for the COVID-19 virus and am mandated to quarantine for 14 days?

Yes, you will be granted an excused leave with full pay with no charge to your CAR or annual leave if you have a documented positive test until you are cleared to return to work.   

Will I be paid if I am directed to self-quarantine due to exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? 

If a health care provider advises you to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, there will be no charge to your CAR or annual leave for up to two weeks.

Will I be paid if I am caring for someone who is under quarantine or isolation order?

You would qualify for an excused leave with partial pay if you can demonstrate an individual depends on you for care and you cannot work remotely while doing so. You may choose to use your accrued CAR or annual leave for up to two weeks instead of partial pay.

Will I be paid if I have symptoms of COVID-19 but have not yet received test results? 

You would be eligible for an excused leave with full pay with no charge to your CAR balance or annual leave limits for up to two weeks. After two weeks, your CAR or annual leave will be charged if a positive test result is not reported. You may return to work 10 days after symptoms start or three days after your fever stopped, whichever is longer.

I have been on leave under the Governor’s PAUSE Executive Order/Matilda’s Law. Will I be eligible for an excused leave with full pay going forward? 

Effective September 1, 2020 anyone who has been on leave under PAUSE (Matilda’s Law) will only be eligible for excused leave at full pay for up to two work weeks without a charge to leave balance.

Are members who work part-time eligible to take a leave if they test positive for COVID-19 or are under quarantine orders, etc? 

Part-time employees may receive excused leave for the number of hours that the employee is expected to work in a two-week period. If expected hours cannot be readily determined, part-time employees may receive excused leave for the average number of hours that the employee worked in a two-week period over the six months preceding the leave.

Will I be paid if I am caring for someone who is at a heightened risk associated with COVID19 exposure (e.g. underlying medical condition, age, etc.)? 

You would qualify for an excused leave with partial pay if you can demonstrate an individual depends on you for care and you cannot work remotely while doing so. You may choose to use your accrued CAR or annual leave for up to two weeks instead of partial pay.

Per the UFT's agreement with the DOE of 9/25/20, if you are the primary caregiver for your family member, and you live with him or her, you have priority for a remote position. 

If I am eligible for a COVID-related leave with partial pay, how would that amount be calculated? 

The amount of partial pay is calculated as two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day or a total of $2,000.

What type of documentation am I required to submit before applying for a COVID-related leave of absence?

A member must be able to provide proof, such as documentation from a health care provider, school, day care provider and/or governmental order as applicable. CAR rules regarding medical documentation will be relaxed so members may self-certify for COVID-19 related absences. However, supervisors may request documentation if there is a question about reasonableness of the time taken or other concerns, and extended leaves may be subject to further medical review by the DOE.

Will staff be able to use additional CAR days for COVID-related absences this year?

Members will be able to use CAR or sick days, over the existing limit of three such days per year, to either (a) care for a family member who is home due to documented COVID-19 related illness after having tested positive for COVID or (b) care for their child whose school or place of care has been closed for COVID-19 related reasons, and/or is at home for remote learning for COVID-19 related reasons. Such use of CAR or sick days is limited to no more than twelve (12) weeks total, less any time taken as excused leave at partial pay.

How is timekeeping and attendance different this year for remote teachers?

Remote staff members are expected to work the equivalent of their regular hours. The roles of remote staff may differ from traditional, in-person work but must be consistent with members’ titles. A member who refuses to perform their assigned work will have their accrued leave charged and may be subject to discipline. Supervisors and members should work together to identify work activities members have the technical capacity to perform. If a remote worker cannot perform their regular hours from home and are not designated to work in person, the member will not have the time charged to CAR/annual leave for the hours not worked and instead will be granted an emergency absence without pay.

Can I take a leave of absence due to a mental health diagnosis?

Contact the UFT’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) at 212-701-9620 or mapinfo@uft.org

I do not have a medical accommodation. Could I be assigned to work remotely?

Yes, if there are additional remote staffing needs besides those teachers with accommodations, you could be assigned to work remotely.

I do not have a medical accommodation, but I have been assigned to work remotely. Could that change at some point during the school year?

Yes, if you do not have a medical accommodation, you could be asked to work in-person at some time in the future.

Can per-session activities be done remotely?

Yes, per-session can be done remotely, and retention rights will be protected.

How does this agreement affect coverages?

All in-school coverages shall follow the current contractual provisions, including the employment of per diem substitute teachers. However, a paraprofessional classroom manager may be assigned to cover classes. There is no obligation to cover remote classes and remote teachers are required to maintain a reasonable number of asynchronous activities, including those created by virtual content specialists, that may be assigned to students in the event of a remote teacher absence.

Can a teacher visit their school if they are teaching remotely to pick up materials to teach at home?

Yes, arrangements should be made with the principal to find a safe time to do this.

What happens when there is not enough staff in the building to cover assignments?

Schools can and should continue to use sub-Central to cover absences, wherever possible. The UFT has been telling the DOE and City Hall for months that they have a staffing problem that cannot be solved through instructional guidance. The staffing problem needs to be addressed in order for schools to open safely and for schools to operate well.

How do I initiate a complaint about working conditions?

Speak with your chapter leader about filing an operational issues complaint.