Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
District 13 Durham

COVID-19 Updates

Staff Absence Scenarios - Updated September 9, 2020

As we are in unusual times, it is understandable that members may have questions on the absence procedure as we return to work during a pandemic.

As of September 9, 2020 the DDSB has updated their staff absence scenario document and that can be viewed by visiting the link below:

Employee FAQ - Absence Scenarios – Reopening 2020/2021

District 13 OSSTF has also updated the chart shared with members  to help understand the various absence scenarios that may arise during the reopening of the 2020/2021 school year. To view the updated District 13 OSSTF Staff Absence Scenarios document Please see the attachment below or at the bottom of this page.

Attachment: Absence Scenarios Updated September 9, 2020

If you have suspected COVID-19 symptoms or have had a potential exposure that requires isolation, remember that the key things to take care of include:

 -  reporting the absence so that a supply teacher is arranged.
 -   contacting your principal regarding the circumstances of the absence.
 -  contacting the Durham Region Health Department at (905) 668-7711 for advice and direction. 

Please note that at any time, the direction and circumstances related to a COVID-19 related absence may be updated by the Board.

Steps to Take for a Possible Exposure or Symptoms Develop

This is going to be a very difficult year for many families. So it is very important to understand the protocols before situations occur so that you can be prepared. Review the protocols below so that if things should come up, you will know what to do.

A. If your child has symptoms of COVID

If your child is symptomatic and you think you might have an exposure, contact your principal/attendance secretary and indicate that you have a potential exposure and that you will be home awaiting instructions from the Durham Region Health Department. Indicate to the school that you will be able to continue working while at home so you will only require a half-day morning supply teacher. (You should be able to continue to run your afternoon online class on your own, and for the morning class, the supply teacher will be there but you can provide lessons, materials and marking). Enter your absence on SFE as “Illness”. You will be paid during this isolation time. Please speak with your principal to have the absence code changed to isolation after the fact. Call the Durham Region Health Department for instructions about next steps for yourself and your child given your situation. (You can wait on hold or leave your number and they will call you back. This could take up to 24 hours.)

What happens next will depend on what the health department says:

1. If the health department determines that you require a COVID test, then you will remain off work under isolation until you are cleared. Update your principal/attendance secretary and SFE about your status.
2. If the health department determines that you are ok to return to work, then you are no longer under isolation. As well, if you are instructed to be tested and receive a negative COVID test before your child is cleared, then this becomes a childcare issue not a COVID one. You will not be paid for absences relating to childcare. See instructions in B.

B. If you have childcare issues

If you are faced with a childcare issue and you cannot be at work, you would ordinarily not be paid. (Please note that sick days would not apply since you are not the one who is sick. Using sick days due to a sick child is not an appropriate use of sick days.) However, during the pandemic, the Board is allowing people to continue to work from home as with the isolation days and will therefore only require unpaid days in half day increments. As well, in our collective agreement, we have up to three paid days (or six half days) per school year combined for special or compassionate reasons. It is an application process not an automatic granting, so you must provide information to the Board conveying the situation in the comment box. You will apply on the Portal under Quick Links→ Employee Self Serve → HRP Link (Forms Online) (middle of screen) → Forms Online → Leave of Absence → Reason for Absence: 028 Leave for Compassionate Reasons. If you have exhausted all of the paid Compassionate Days, you can apply for unpaid days on the portal under Reason for Absence: 090 Unpaid (Short Term) Less than 10 days.

C. If YOU develop symptoms of COVID

If YOU develop symptoms of COVID, you will follow the same steps regarding exposure as in Scenario A. above. The only difference is that your absence will be coded as sick leave rather than isolation. Also, since you have been COVID symptomatic, the Board requires you to provide a negative COVID test and be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to work. If your absence is longer than 2 days, you will also be required to provide an Abilities Form from your doctor to support your absence. The Abilities Form is available at www.d13.osstf.ca/AbilitiesForm. Send your completed Abilities Form to ShortTerm.Absence@ddsb.ca.

D. If you are sick for any reason other than COVID

If you are sick/injured for reasons other than COVID and are completely unable to work, you will access sick leave like any other year. If your absence is longer than 2 days, you will also be required to provide an Abilities Form from your doctor to support your absence. The Abilities Form is available at www.d13.osstf.ca/AbilitiesForm. Send your completed Abilities Form to ShortTerm.Absence@ddsb.ca .

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