CPS has directed thousands more CTU members to report back to buildings without adequate plans or negotiated safety measures in place to protect educators, students or our communities. Below you will find guidance on some of the most common situations that members are experiencing as the mayor recklessly pushes forward with in-person high school – a plan rejected by the vast majority of educators, parents and principals.
CTU reminds all members:
- You have a right to refuse an assignment that poses abnormally dangerous health and safety conditions.
- If you believe that returning to in-person work under the current conditions poses such a risk, CTU encourages you to exercise that right by sending a letter notifying your administrator even if you have applied for or been approved for other leaves or accommodations.
My principal sent me an email directing me to report in-person and threatening discipline. What does this mean?
You may have received an email today from your principal or manager with a directive to report in-person and threatening that CPS will take steps if you remain remote without “authorization.” These were “copy and paste” messages written by central office that principals were instructed to send to staff, not a personal threat.
It likely looked something like this:
“You have been directed to report for in-person work starting this week. Without an approved accommodation or leave of absence, all high school teachers and staff are required to continue reporting to work in-person on April 14 as previously directed by CPS. Consequently, you are not approved to telework today (April 14th) and if you do not report for in-person instruction as directed, your absence from the school building will be unauthorized and CPS will take appropriate next steps.”
“CPS sent many rounds of similar messages to members from the earlier Waves that took action. Notice that they don’t specifically say that they are taking disciplinary steps or threaten to dock our pay. They know that if we are allowed to work — to teach students, enter data, join meetings or perform other job duties that our employer accepts — that they legally must pay us. In the previous rounds of these fights, CPS has locked educators out before attempting to deny pay and pursued no disciplinary actions for “unauthorized remote work.”
CPS retracted approval of my telework. What should I do?
If CPS retracted approval of your time, do not panic! CPS is legally required to pay you, and this is a scare tactic. Continue to work remotely. If you worked and CPS accepted your work product, then they are obligated to pay you. During the fight in the elementary schools, thousands of members had telework reported as “denied” or left “pending” but were paid in full when the time came. In the unlikely case that your paycheck doesn’t reflect the amount you worked, you should send your finalized paystub to your to your Field Rep so that a grievance can be filed.
I’m a PSRP and I can’t enter TEL.
I’m a teacher and can’t enter TEL.
Is this a strike?
No. Remember, we are continuing to do our work. We have successfully performed our duties remotely for the past year and we are continuing to do so. CPS needs to live up to its obligation to negotiate safety protocols and the terms for a safe return to in-person work and education.
What should you do if your administrator locks you out or instructs you to log out of Google classroom?
If your administration locks you out of Google classroom or otherwise forces you to log off, you should send an email to your principal, saving a copy for your records and sharing a copy with your delegate(s), that states one of the following, depending on the circumstances:
This email is to inform you that I attempted to log into Google Classroom on (date) unsuccessfully and believe that I am locked out. Please correct me if I am mistaken. I will continue to attempt to deliver instruction to my students remotely, grade student assignments, and prepare future lesson and unit plans until my access to Google Classroom is restored. I am also available for other assignments within the scope of my job responsibilities.
This email is to confirm your directive on (date) that I log out of Google Classroom. I will continue to attempt to deliver instruction to my students remotely, grade student assignments, and prepare future lesson and unit plans until my access to Google Classroom is restored. I am also available for other assignments within the scope of my job responsibilities.
Have you been asked to sign an affidavit and/or provide documentation to support your failure of the health screener or your request to use a benefit day?
In most cases, CPS is likely within its rights to do this as an employer. This is similar to CPS requesting a doctor’s note when an educator uses 3 or more sick days consecutively or under circumstances that create a reasonable suspicion of sick day abuse.
If you are directed not to report for in-person work after failing the health screener, CPS can and likely will ask you to provide verification of the basis for your failure of the screener.
If you have documentary proof of the basis for failing the health screener (e.g., a doctor’s note, a positive Covid-19 test, a contact tracing interview record after a Covid-19 exposure, records of travel to a restricted state, etc.) you should provide it.
If you do not have documentary proof (e.g., you had a fever but did not visit a doctor or traveled to a travel restricted state and do not have any evidence of it, etc.) you should sign the affidavit stating so. DO NOT make statements in the affidavit that are not true.
Have you been told to report while awaiting a response on an ADA accommodation request you submitted for your own medical condition?
If you have requested a remote work accommodation due to your own health condition, CPS’s policy (and the law) provides that you are able to continue working remotely until CPS responds to your accommodation request.
If your principal or manager continues to insist that you are to report in-person while awaiting a response on your accommodation request, send an email requesting that they contact the Talent Office to confirm CPS policy, copying your CTU field representative.
Have you been told to report while awaiting a response on an ADA accommodation request that you submitted based on being a caregiver or health condition of a family member?
CPS has stated that employees who have requested accommodations based upon being a caregiver or due to the health condition of a family member are required to report in-person while the accommodation request is pending. Notwithstanding that, you still have the right to refuse a work assignment that you believe places yourself and/or your family members in danger and continue working remotely. If you believe that reporting to work in-person while your accommodation request is pending poses an abnormally dangerous health condition, you should send your principal or manager a letter exercising this right and continue working remotely.