Update on accommodations as of Friday September 4th:
Para accommodation requests for personal health conditions reviewed:
Total reviewed = 39
Retired = 1
Resigned = 1
Approved = 5
Leave of absence = 2
Lacking medical documentation = 7 (I am told that these 7 paras have been notified several times that the district has not received documentation from the health care provider.)
Denied = 23
There are approximately 100 unfilled paraeducator positions currently. My understanding is that each case was discussed with the principal/supervisor and brought before the cabinet. The decision was based, not on the paraeducator’s specific condition, but on whether or not there were enough paraeducators available to cover the needs of the building. If there were, then the supervisor was asked if there was work available for the para to complete at home.
There were approximately 100 teachers granted an accommodation. Many of them will be conducting their classes from home. I’ve been told teachers were granted accommodations because without them, there would be classes in the secondary schools that could not be offered to students.
There will be approximately 50 paras scheduled to be in the classrooms of some of these teachers to supervise the hybrid students that are there on any given day. (I have checked into this and it is completely legal per the district’s general counsel and our attorneys.) The teacher will lead the class in the lesson and be virtually in the room to answer questions. It will be mainly secondary paras who are scheduled to supervise these rooms. If there are SpEd students who need support in the classroom per their IEP, there will be a SpEd para assigned to support those students.
If you have submitted an accommodation request and have not received a response, please email Sarah Kriewall and Tammy McBroom and cc me. I would like to hear if anyone has reason to believe that their request was not properly reviewed.
Here is an excerpt from a communication with our attorneys:
That the law is they have to provide reasonable accommodations, but given that they have most students in as hybrid right now and that might require a higher level of staff to student ratio, that they can deny it if there isn’t work available at home and they are needed at school. And at that point there should be leave options and possible eligibility for unemployment while on unpaid leave.
This is a bitter pill to swallow. It screams ‘this is not fair’! I have had discussions with the school board, the superintendent, general counsel, head of Employee Services, our attorneys, and of course, many of you. My heart breaks as I hear story after story from individuals on how this decision is devastating to their families and they don’t know where to turn. I will continue to advocate for you, look for solutions and answer your questions to the best of my ability.
Here is a link that may answer questions regarding unemployment that may be available to you.
Here is an excerpt from that page:
I am taking a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence due to COVID-19. Am I eligible?
Under Governor Walz’s executive order, you may be eligible for benefits if you are on a leave of absence and:
- A health authority or a health care professional has recommended or ordered you to stay home from work OR
- You have been notified that your ordinary childcare is unavailable and you are unable to find either A) alternative childcare or B) an accommodation from your employer
I will continue to share information and additional resources here as I learn more.
COVID-19 information for workers / | Applicants – Unemployment Insurance Minnesota
Workers who have lost their jobs or had their hours significantly reduced because of COVID-19 may qualify for unemployment benefits.
***Gina Uebel shared a link.
- August 31 at 8:01 AM
Here’s some information for those of you that do not receive a needed accommodation:
At-risk employees and family members Q: I am an at-risk employee and my employer is requiring me to come to work. What recourse do I have? • Individuals with disabilities have the right to request “reasonable accommodations” from employers that are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or the Minnesota Human Rights Act. If you have a disability that affects your risk for contracting COVID-19 or being harmed if you do contract the virus, you have the right to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer. When requesting a reasonable accommodation, describe the nature of the accommodation requested and how it will assist you in performing the essential functions of your job. Whether a requested accommodation is reasonable will depend on the specific circumstances. Contact Minnesota’s Discrimination Helpline at 833-454-0148 if you believe your employer denied you a reasonable accommodation. • If your employer is unable to provide a reasonable accommodation upon your request, you may be eligible for unemployment. Minnesota unemployment insurance law provides that an applicant is eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if the applicant quits employment because the applicant’s serious illness or injury made it medically necessary that the applicant quit. Q: I live with a family member who has an underlying health condition that places them at greater risk if they contract COVID-19 and I am unable to work from home. What are my options? 5 • Workers who live with family members who are at greater risk if they contract COVID-19 are encouraged to ask for reasonable accommodations from their business that will allow them to continue working while maintaining the safety and health of their family member. • If your employer is unable to provide a reasonable accommodation, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Minnesota unemployment insurance law provides that an applicant is eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if the applicant quits employment to provide necessary care because of the illness, injury or disability of an immediate family member of the applicant.ccommodation:
Page not found | Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
Sorry, we can’t find the page you are looking for. Try these links to get back in gear:
- You would think that, our apparently critical roles during this time of chaos, especially with putting us in classrooms, would result in emergency hazard pay during this time.
- I know it won’t
- But it should
- Given all they are asking us to do while simultaneously saying “Our teachers are super important – you not so much” while at the same time saying, and learning, how truly valuable and critical we are to the educational infrastructure – even though we have long been undervalued and underpaid for the work expected of us
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- Gina Uebel
- I agree that we deserve hazard pay. I see many people who deserve that. Custodians, A+ staff, Teachers, Child Nutrition, etc. – and that’s just in the district. Besides the risk they are all exposed to, they are all required to go above and beyond what they have ever been asked to do . There are doctors, nurses, EMTs, grocery clerks, and so many others who are required to put themselves in harm’s way. It is certainly not fair and we (and all these others) absolutely deserve to be compensated for the added risk and added responsibilities. These are terribly difficult times we are living in and I can’t imagine there is one person who hasn’t been affected negatively, some more than others. This STUPID pandemic has not been fair to anyone and this is such a painful situation that paraeducators find ourselves in. For myself, for my mental health and well being, I have to decide what is best for me and my family based on the reality of what life is handing us right now. I have grandchildren who attend in our district. I have to do my best for them and for all the students in our district. I have worked in this profession for over 20 years because I make a difference and I am proud of the work I do. I have choices and I don’t like ANY of them. This is affecting my mental health as I am sure it is affecting all of you. I will do my best to try and stay positive, do what is best for myself and my family, fight for what is right and accept what is if there is nothing I can do about it. I hope that every one of us can find a way to deal with the various levels of discomfort (ranging from devastation to anxiety) and find a way to come out with our health, sanity and well being on the other side of this horrible ordeal. My prayers are with all of you as you decide what you need to do to take care of yourself.