UFT News & Updates for February 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

This week has brought some surprise announcements, including the news that middle schools will open across the city for student on February 25 with staff reporting the day before.  Due to expectations of low attendance, and other reasons, there are currently no plans for resuming blended learning.  Students who have opted into on-site instruction will attend five days a week.

There was a building safety meeting this morning that took up issues related to the reopening of ENYFA’s middle school grades.  Mr. Ed Ludde, the chairperson, posted the meeting minutes.

I am making this month’s chapter meeting at a different time than usual.  It will be Thursday February 11 at 4 o’clock because of commitments I have later in the evening.  I won’t be available for a Saturday make-up meeting.  Please try to join us Thursday!

I plan to report on the UFT delegate assembly which is taking place tomorrow along with other updates I’m expecting to get from our district rep.  In the meantime, I can be reached at jlawhead33@gmail.com or at 347-217-2219 for voice or text with your questions and concerns.

Something I’ve had questions about is the timing and length of faculty conferences.  Here’s a new guidance from the DOE.

COVID-19 Related Leaves from Work

The DOE has updated its policies on paid and unpaid leave time related to COVID-19 and quarantine requirements after travel in the wake of changes to federal, state and city guidance. DOE employees can no longer receive paid leave to quarantine due to travel — they must use their CAR days.

DOE employees who are caring for someone who is self-quarantining because of heightened risk associated with exposure to COVID-19 are eligible for two weeks of excused leave at partial pay. Partial pay equals two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day or a total of $2,000. To qualify for this excused leave, you will have to demonstrate that this individual depends on you for care and you cannot work remotely while providing that care. You may also use CAR days, annual leave or sick leave instead of excused leave at partial pay, but the time off cannot exceed a total of two weeks.

You can read the full updated memorandum online.

Sabbaticals for 2021-2022

Last month the DOE issued directions and timelines, and eligibility requirements for applying for a sabbatical during the 2021-2022 school year.  Applications will be accepted starting on February 12 with March 17 the deadline.  There are two types of sabbaticals available.  One is for study and the other is for restoration of your health.  Consider working on an additional certification in a shortage area.  According to this memo the DOE is looking into providing tuition forgiveness when teachers pursue studies in these areas.

Pension Clinic

The information session on pensions will be February 24 online.  It’s open to all UFTers who are interested in learning more about their benefits at retirement.


New Permanent New York State Education Commissioner

I look for good news to share.  I believe Betty A. Rosa the most progressive-minded commissioner in several decades.  Important policy changes may be coming!


Karen Lewis (1953-2021)

A union leader that the long abused and neglected Chicago public schools deserved.


Thanks for reading!  Stay safe and be well!

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