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How to respond to telework denials, health screener affidavits, and more.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions for CTU members

Thousands of CTU members have been directed to report back to unsafe buildings without negotiated safety measures or adequate plans in place to protect educators, students or our communities. Over half the educators instructed to return to in-person did not do so, instead exercising their right to refuse an assignment that poses a serious risk to their health and safety or due to other approved leaves and telework accommodations.

In an attempt to intimidate educators out of exercising these rights, CPS management has sent new communications changing policies and denying legitimate requests. Below you will find guidance on responding to some of the most common situations that members are experiencing as the mayor recklessly pushes forward with 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 accomodations.

FAQ

What to do if you can’t swipe in through Kronos or if your Telework is denied?

If you have invoked your right to refuse an unsafe work assignment and will continue working remotely, you should attempt to swipe in and out through Kronos remotely.

If you are blocked from swiping through Kronos, you should send an email to your principal at the beginning and the end of the work day to document your time. You should then log into Google Classroom and continue your work day as you have been.

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, copying your CTU field rep, 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.

OR

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.

Did you invoke your right to refuse an unsafe work environment?

If the reason you do not report for in-person work after being directed to do so is that you are invoking your right to refuse an unsafe work assignment, you do not need to sign an affidavit, and the only documentation you need to submit is the letter you have provided to your principal. You can respond to any inquiry asking for documentation or an affidavit by responding:

I am exercising my right to refuse an unsafe work assignment and continuing to perform my job duties remotely. Please see the attached letter I sent my principal or manager on January 6, 2021.

If you have not yet sent your Principal a letter notifying them that you are invoking your right to refuse an unsafe work assignment you should do so now. Copy the Safety Letter to Principals at www.ctulocal1.org/safety-letter and send it to your principal.

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 (Use the Make a Copy function to send your own Principal Safety Letter to your principal.