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 FAQs: Staff

​Look for more information in the back-to-school staff handbook, which is available on the staff intranet. 

new!  If a staff member has to quarantine or becomes ill, what happens if they run out of sick days?
We will continue to follow guidelines for FFCRA, FMLA, ADA and medical leaves all of which have options for unpaid leave. To inquire about or apply for a leave of absence, contact the Reed Group at (888) 459-0793 or visit https://rps.leavepro.com

What measures is the school district taking to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission for employees returning to work for the upcoming school year?
The district is adhering to State Board of Education and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as it prepares for the reopening of schools. If you have any questions about these measures, please contact your HR Generalist.

How many remote-only teaching jobs will be available and how do I apply? How will decisions be made as to who receives those positions?
The number of remote-only teaching jobs that will be available will be driven by student need. We have asked families to submit their choice for in-person or full-time remote instruction by Aug. 3, so we’ll have a better idea of our remote-only teaching needs after that survey window closes.

If you are interested in a remote-only teaching job, you may apply for posted positions in keeping with the provisions of the district’s contract with the REA. Selection for those positions will also be in keeping with that contract and applicable law. In order to be considered for remote-only teaching jobs, you must be qualified and certified to fill the posted job. 

Will staff who have health conditions (e.g., those who are immunocompromised, are pregnant, etc.) be considered for accommodations?  Will they be given preference for the remote-only teaching positions?
Staff in need of accommodations for these conditions will be considered for accommodations as required by law. To the extent that an individual is legally entitled to an accommodation, is qualified for a remote-only teaching position and is eligible under the terms of the REA contract, a remote-only teaching position may be an accommodation to be considered during the “interactive process” (i.e., the process applicable to accommodation requests).  

Teaching and non-teaching staff who are in need of an accommodation should contact their HR Generalist to request an accommodation and to discuss the accommodation process, potential accommodation options and similar issues.

Will staff be required to provide medical information in support of a request for an accommodation?
Typically, accommodation requests must be supported by medical information confirming the need for an accommodation, the type of accommodation needed, the duration of the need and similar information. The unwillingness of a staff member to provide supporting information may result in the district discontinuing the accommodation process.

May an employee take a leave of absence if they don’t feel safe returning to work?
Depending on the reason for the concern the employee may be considered for a leave of absence.  Please contact HR to discuss specific safety concerns and/or contact the Reed Group at (888) 459-0793 or visit https://rps.leavepro.com to discuss leave of absence options.  

If a staff member chooses not to return this fall, is their job secure?
It depends on whether the staff member is on an approved leave of absence of the type allowed by district policies and/or the applicable union contract. In the absence of an approved leave, the staff member’s position may not be secure. Please contact your HR Generalist to discuss or, to inquire about or apply for a leave of absence, contact the Reed Group at (888) 459-0793 or visit https://rps.leavepro.com

If a staff member contracts COVID-19 at work, may he/she claim worker’s compensation?
A staff member may be eligible for worker’s compensation coverage, subject to review by the district’s insurer, the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission, etc. Please reach out to your HR Generalist for additional information.

If a staff member or student comes down with a fever, will they be required to be tested for COVID-19 and provide the school with documentation of the results?
Testing is encouraged to track and prevent the spread of the disease, but testing is not required. Depending on the circumstances, the staff member or student may not be allowed to remain at school, according to applicable CDC and Illinois State Board of Education requirements.

What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

If a student or staff member tests positive, our nursing staff would review the nature and extent of contact with others. We would work closely with the Winnebago County Health Department to determine who needs to self-quarantine. The school will provide makeup work if a student needs to quarantine. If the teacher and the entire class needs to quarantine, the teacher may be able to work remotely (assuming it is not the teacher who tests positive). A substitute teacher would be identified to handle in-person classes if the teacher is out on quarantine.

Will teachers be required to teach remotely if they are sick?
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, any employee who is diagnosed with COVID-19 does not have to report to work, even in a remote setting. This is consistent with guidance from the local health department. For other information about leaves of absence, please contact the Reed Group at (888) 459-0793 or visit ​https://rps.leavepro.com

What about staff members who need to quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19? Will they have to work?
If the staff member's work can be done remotely while in quarantine, they may be asked to work. Or they may use available leave.

Will disciplinary actions based on attendance be suspended during this time? (For example, many districts require meetings or staff notes after a specific number of sick days are used.)
Absences from work may be due to a variety of reasons, including medical, vacation, professional development, etc. Some collective bargaining agreements include disciplinary action for certain absences. Staff members on a protected leave (including FMLA, ADA, etc.) are not subject to discipline.  

Remote learning requires immense amounts of preparation and behind-the-scenes work, including rewriting curriculum. Will teachers be compensated for this work - especially if they are doing it simultaneously to provide in person?
A district instruction team has been preparing support for remote learning and will provide details soon.

If a teacher is required to quarantine and use sick time, who will create the lesson plans, and how will long-term subs work?
All teachers are required to have prepared lesson plans in the event of an illness/absence. If a teacher is required to isolate because the teacher has been exposed but has not tested positive for the virus, the teacher may still provide services virtually, if the teacher’s supervisor and HR approve. If a teacher is quarantined while waiting for test results or after testing positive, the teacher must go through the Reed Group to obtain an appropriate leave. The teacher may also be able to provide services virtually, if the teacher’s physician, supervisor and HR approve.

Can all staff members choose to work remotely if they are forced to self-isolate due to exposure? Who will decide if a staff member can work? 
HR and the staff member’s supervisor will have to make a determination as to whether services can be provided virtually. This determination is made on a case by case basis.


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