Staff Capacity

Maintaining staff capacity and performance during these uncertain times remains a priority for the Department. In addition to working with labor unions and adhering to employment laws, the Department continues to create professional development and training opportunities, while incorporating applicable telework arrangements to meet staff needs.

Professional Development and Training

Professional development and training may be conducted at the school, complex area, or state level virtually or in-person, with adherence to health and safety guidelines and social distancing. Participants should be provided with online handouts and related materials.

General training and development opportunities for all HIDOE employees may be accessed through the Employee Training & Development websiteProfessional development opportunities specifically for educators are available via PDE3.


Substitute Teachers and Casual Hires

School administrators should review health and safety procedures and social distancing guidelines with all substitute teachers as well as all casual hires which include, but are not limited to: paraprofessional tutors; paraprofessional educators; part-time tutors; adult supervisors; and classroom cleaners.

The management of substitute teachers, including professional development to address various instructional models, how to take attendance, utilizing learning management platforms, and classroom management, are under discussion.


Telework

Telework may be an option when an employee can be as functional and productive as when in the workplace. Current guidelines do not allow telework to exceed July 28, 2020, but may be subject to change. HIDOE is exploring telework as a permanent opportunity for appropriate positions. 


Employment Laws

HIDOE shall provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, who makes a request for an accommodation, and for whom it is determined that reasonable accommodations are available, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship or fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the work. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is defined as the state of having a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, having a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. (Read full ADA definition here.)

Since COVID-19, employees who have not requested reasonable accommodations in the past may now be requesting reasonable accommodations due to various underlying health conditions such as asthma, compromised immune systems, high blood pressure, or other conditions.

While a request may initially be made orally, the employee making the request will be asked to confirm the request in writing on the Department of Education Reasonable Accommodation Request & Approval Form (Form RA-1) (https://bit.ly/2Bb3pZ8) and to also complete the Department of Education Applicant/Employee Consent & Authorization To Release Medical Information For Reasonable Accommodation (Form RA-3) (https://bit.ly/2UQirui). The employee must then submit the completed forms directly to their complex area equity specialist or the Civil Rights Compliance Branch. To expedite the process, the employee should contact the equity specialist directly for further assistance.

Once the complex area equity specialist receives the RA-1 and RA-3 forms, they will process the request as soon as possible. While the request is being processed, the employee's principal may provide the employee with interim accommodations while the process is being completed. The interim accommodations should be provided in writing, and specify an end date to the interim accommodation.

To determine whether a reasonable accommodation exists, the employee must engage in an interactive process. This means that the administrator, manager, or supervisor and the employee, should discuss the limitation(s) resulting from the disability and potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations in the workplace. There must be a good faith effort in the interactive process to determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be provided. 


Labor Unions

The Department is currently in negotiations with the unions on the reopening of the school year.

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