Teachers who cannot get the vaccine or won't get it for medical or religious reasons and get approved, are on unpaid leave for a year starting today Monday October 4, 2021.
Many teachers are opting for a hearing on their medical or religious exemption. The hearing is very short, 15 minutes. A decision is made within 24 hours.
I am posting the Notice sent by the NYC Department of Education, below, as well as the assignment while a teacher awaits the decision of the arbitrator on any exemption.
See this:Thousands of Unvaccinated New York City Teachers on Unpaid Leave: Union
Subject: Your Pending Appeal for An Exemption to the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
According to our records, you have a pending appeal on your application for a medical or religious exemption to the COVID-19 Vaccine mandate.
While this appeal is pending, you are considered eligible to be treated as exempt for the purposes of the vaccine mandate which will go into effect as of Monday, October 4. However, as that status will change, you should be regularly checking your DOE email (including this weekend) for notification from the Arbitrator and be aware of the following:
While your appeal is pending and you remain unvaccinated, you will not be put on a Leave Without Pay status. However, you will not be permitted to enter a school building. If your usual place of work is in a school, you will be expected during this time to temporarily work offsite and support your school to cover your work in your absence and perform related activities. You should be available during regular work hours and check-in with your school’s payroll secretary for timekeeping purposes. If your usual place of work is not in a school building, you should continue to report to your regular location and assignment.
If your appeal is granted (approved) and you remain unvaccinated, you will not be put on a Leave Without Pay status. If your usual place of work is in a school, you will receive a new assignment outside of a school building (e.g. administrative offices) to perform academic or administrative work determined by the DOE. A notification of this assignment may take a few days and in the interim, you should temporarily work offsite to transition your work and support related activities. During this time, you should be available during regular work hours and check-in with your school’s payroll secretary for timekeeping purposes. If your usual place of work is not in a school building, you should continue to report to your regular location and assignment unless notified otherwise.
If your appeal is denied and you remain unvaccinated, you will be put on a Leave Without Pay, with benefits. If you are vaccinated and upload your information to the Vaccination Portal then you may be restored to active pay status.
Good Evening, I’m Anthony Barnes, your UFT Advocate for your Appeal Hearing.
If I emailed you at your Schools.nyc.gov, I apologize. Please reply with your personal email.
If you would like to talk, please send your contact information.
As a reminder, your principal is required to give you release time and a private area in order to attend your hearing.
The hearing will take place on Zoom and should take approximately 15 minutes, though you may have an additional wait time of up to 20 minutes.
If you are an employee represented by a union other than the UFT, please let us know.
* If you want to know more about what to expect, take a look at the arbitrator’s order pgs. 7-13 :
What To Expect:
The Arbitrator, Mr. Pfeffer, will let you into the chat room.
IF YOU HAVE AN ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION TO PRESENT, INFORM HIM THEN.
In the hearing will be You, Me the DOE Lawyer and the Arbitrator, Earl R. Pfeffer.
We will all introduce ourselves. The Arbitrator will swear you in.
I will have an opening statement. Basically, I will address you. I will explain the Arbitration Process and direct you to speak to the Arbitrator and convince him that the DOE made the wrong decision when your Exemption was denied. Medical Documentation should be from a Specialist, as opposed to a General Doctor. Religious Exemption request must not be your personal views. You must explain how taking the vaccine violates your Religious Convictions.
If you assert the vaccines have aborted fetuses, you will loose your case. That is false information according to the NYC Medical Division, and that’s a personal view. Religious Exemption requests shall be considered for recognized and established religious organizations. You should present documentation in writing by clergy or a religious official . Again, you must show/tell how taking the vaccine violates your religious convictions. NO
PERSONAL VIEWS, only Provable Facts. The DOE Lawyer will have an opening statement. They will say that your denial should be upheld, and state why.
I will speak, the DOE Lawyer will speak, then you will speak to the Arbitrator. We will have closing comments and you will exit the chat. He will email you the results.
Hope This Is Helpful. If you need a side bar in the meeting, we can certainly ask for a few minutes alone.
Wishing Everyone Success Tomorrow.
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United Federation of Teachers
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From: NYCDOE <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 3:12 PM
Subject: Notice of Leave Without Pay - PLEASE READ
You are receiving this message because you are being placed on a Leave Without Pay (LWOP) because you are not in compliance with the DOE’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate. If you are a substitute or in certain titles you have been placed in another inactive status, not a LWOP. This means you must not report to your work or school site beginning Monday, October 4th.
While you are on Leave Without Pay (LWOP), you:
· Cannot work and will not receive compensation, but you will continue your medical benefits
· Cannot use annual leave, CAR, or sick time
· Cannot enter your work or school site
· Cannot reach out to students or families
In order to return from LWOP status, you must complete two steps using the DOE Vaccination Portal
1. Upload proof that you have received your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Proof of COVID-19 Vaccine can be an image of your vaccination card, NYS Excelsior Pass, or another government record
2. E-sign the attestation stating that you are willing to return to your worksite within seven calendar days of submission.
Once you have completed these two steps, your HR Director and supervisor will also be notified and will work with you to plan your return date.
If you have been vaccinated this weekend and upload this information by Monday morning, you may report to work as usual on Monday, October 4th, and you will be put back on active status.
On Monday, October 4th, if you have an acceptable proof of vaccination (e.g., vaccination card, NY State Excelsior pass, or other government record) but have not been able to upload to the DOE Vaccination Portal, you may show your proof to the School Safety Agent and/or Principal (or designee) at the door. You will be allowed in the building, and you must immediately upload proof of vaccination to the Vaccination Portal and confirm that you would like to return to work in order to ensure there is no break in payroll.
If you encounter technical issues accessing the Vaccination Portal, please contact the DOE Help Desk by opening a ticket online or calling 718-935-5100. If you need support uploading your proof of vaccination, please contact your principal or HRD who can do so on your behalf.
Please be advised that if you do not intend to return to the DOE after October 1, 2021, you will need to return all DOE property, including computers, IDs, blackberries, and keys, immediately. Failure to return any DOE property that has been assigned to you will delay the processing of your final payment and any payout of leave time.
Employees represented by UFT or CSA who have been placed on LWOP due to vaccination status may select (in SOLAS) special separation or leave options per the arbitration award:
· Separation with benefits (available in SOLAS as of Monday, October 4): Employees choosing to separate under this option:
o Must share their intention to separate via SOLAS by October 29, 2021.
o Will be required to waive their rights to challenge the involuntary resignation, including, but not limited to, through a contractual or statutory disciplinary process
o Will be eligible to be reimbursed for unused CAR/sick leave on a one-for-one basis at the rate of 1/200th of the employee’s salary at departure per day, up to 100 days, to be paid out following the employee’s separation
o Will be eligible to maintain health insurance through September 5, 2022, unless they have health insurance available from another source.
· Extend the leave without pay due to vaccination status through September 5, 2022 (available in SOLAS as of Monday, November 1 through November 30, 2021):
o Employees choosing this option will also be required to waive their rights to challenge their involuntary resignation, including, but not limited to, through a contractual or statutory discipline process
o They will remain eligible for health insurance through September 5, 2022
o Employees who have not returned by September 5, 2022 shall be deemed to have voluntarily resigned
· Beginning December 1, 2021, the DOE will seek to unilaterally separate employees who have not selected one of the options above or otherwise separated service.
For more information about where to get vaccinated, visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov or call 877-VAX-4-NYC. For the latest COVID-19 staffing updates, please visit the Coronavirus Staff Update InfoHub page.
NYCDOE Division of Human Capital