COVID-19 Resources For District Employees
We know that our employees may have a lot of questions as we continue to navigate living with COVID-19 in our community. Below are resources to help you find answers to questions about key dates, safety protocols, leaves of absence, and workplace accommodations. If you don't see the answer you're looking for here, please feel free to reach out to your supervisor for more details.
When am I required to report back to my work site?
All district employees will be required to report back to work on November 9, 2020. Staff members are expected to work in their assigned building five days per week. All telework agreements will no longer be in effect regardless of the listed end date effective. Going forward, telework may be considered (but is not guaranteed) for district building-based staff only in the following limited circumstances:
- As a potential reasonable accommodation for an ADA-covered disability when no other reasonable accommodations are available;
- During a limited 14-day or 10-day period that an employee would otherwise be required to quarantine or isolate due to an exposure to or positive test for COVID-19, per the district’s COVID-19 Exposure Protocol-Supervisor Guidance; or
- When the employee has requested and is entitled to take “COVID leave” covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) unless telework is offered.
- Health & Safety Protocols
- COVID-19 Related Leaves of Absence
- Other Leaves of Absence
- Workplace Accommodations
- How to apply for leave
There are two types of federal leave available to district employees for reasons related to COVID-19 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”): Employee Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) and Expanded Family and Medical Leave (which the district calls “FMLA+” leave). EPSL and FMLA+ leave are available only through December 31, 2020 (unless Congress acts to extend that law), and only for certain limited reasons under specific conditions. There are circumstances under which leave is needed and available, and circumstances under which it is not.
An employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because the employee:
- Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- Is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
- Is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For a quick, general overview of the six (6) specific reasons outlined above for which leave is available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), review this poster on the district’s Leave of Absence web page (Spanish version here). FFCRA leave is not available unless one of these six (6) reasons applies.
More information (from an employee perspective) in a Q&A format can be found in the District’s COVID Leave FAQs.
If you believe that one of the above situations applies to you, you will need to apply for a leave of absence. For more information on the process and how to apply, see the "How to Apply for Leave" tab above.
Tulsa Public Schools offers various types of paid leave to eligible employees, including sick, vacation, personal business, emergency and bereavement leave, among others. Eligible team members who have worked for the district for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months may be entitled to up to 12 weeks/60 days of unpaid leave for qualifying reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
To learn more about the various types of leave that might apply to you, please explore your options in the drop downs below. To apply for a leave of absence, please visit the "How to Apply for Leave" tab.
- I need time away for my own medical condition
- I NEED TO CARE FOR A FAMILY MEMBER WHO HAS A MEDICAL CONDITION
- THERE'S BEEN AN EMERGENCY OR DEATH IN MY FAMILY
- I NEED TO CARE FOR A NEWBORN BABY OR NEWLY PLACED ADOPTED OR FOSTER CHILD
- I WAS INJURED WHILE AT WORK
- I need leave for military duty
- I WANT TO PURSUE FURTHER STUDY OR TAKE A SABBATICAL
If you need time off work for your own personal medical condition, including pregnancy, childbirth or recovery from childbirth, you may be entitled to FMLA-covered leave. Extended leave may also be available. If you need an extended period of time off work or need leave intermittently for your own medical condition, tell your Principal or Supervisor and complete and return this packet to Compensation and Benefits.
If you need time off work to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to care for a covered servicemember who is your family or next of kin, you may be entitled to FMLA-covered leave. Extended leave may also be available to care for family members. If you need an extended period of time off work or if you need leave intermittently to care for a family member or a covered servicemember, tell your Principal or Supervisor and complete and return this packet to Compensation and Benefits.
We provide up to 5 days of emergency leave and up to 5 days of bereavement leave for eligible team members. Team members who need time away from work for a qualifying emergency or death should inform their Principal or Supervisor that they need time off for those reasons. You may be asked to provide proof of the emergency or of the death or the family relationship.
Leave is also available to eligible team members for qualifying military exigencies under the FMLA. Please see the FMLA policy for more information on this type of leave. If you need this type of leave, tell your Principal or Supervisor and he/she will give you a packet to complete and return to Compensation and Benefits.
FMLA leave or extended leave may be available for eligible team members who need time off for pregnancy and/or childbirth and recovery from childbirth. FMLA leave or extended leave may also be available to allow eligible team members to care for a newborn baby or a newly-placed adopted or foster child. If you need leave for this reason, tell your Principal or Supervisor and complete and return this packet to Compensation and Benefits.
Our team members’ health and safety is of paramount importance to the district. If you are injured at work, it is essential that you report your injury right away to ensure you timely receive medical attention, as you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under Oklahoma state law. If you are injured at work, notify the health assistant (if at a school) and your supervisor immediately.
Sometimes, team members require time off from work to recover from or to receive treatment for a workplace injury. You may be placed on FMLA leave or an extended leave of absence if you require extended or intermittent time away from work. Compensation and Benefits will contact you if additional information is needed from you or your healthcare provider to place you on a leave status after a workplace injury.
Tulsa Public Schools provides military leave to team members in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and state law. In accordance with state law, team members who are members, either officers or enlisted, of the National Guard or any branch of the United States Military or its reserve components will receive their full regular pay during the first thirty (30) calendar days of a leave of absence, not to exceed two hundred forty (240) hours, of such a leave of absence in any federal fiscal year, when ordered by the proper authority to active or inactive duty or service. If you need time off work for military duty, please inform your supervisor and contact Compensation & Benefits.
Eligible team members may take leave for up to two years to pursue further study. One year of sabbatical leave may also be available to eligible teachers. More information about these types of leave is available here. You are encouraged to talk with your Principal or Supervisor if you are interested in this type of leave.
Workplace Accommodations for Medical Reasons
Tulsa Public Schools prohibits discrimination and provides reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and pregnant employees as required by applicable laws. The following information is intended to help employees with certain medical conditions or who are pregnant understand what workplace accommodations may be available to them and how to request one.
What is meant by workplace accommodation?
A workplace accommodation is a change or modification to the way work is performed or the work environment that enables a qualified employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job and enjoy equal employment opportunities.
Workplace accommodations can take many different forms, including but not limited to: modified work schedules; changes to working conditions; permitting the use of paid or unpaid leave; providing additional or alternative protective gear or equipment; job restructuring and reassignment of marginal job duties; and changes to the location where work is performed. Depending on the circumstances, telework may also be a reasonable accommodation, especially if needed only for a limited period of time.
Who is potentially entitled to reasonable accommodations?
The employee must be disabled (which means they must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits them in performing one or more major life activities). They must need an accommodation and must make their needs known. Accommodations are also made for pregnant workers to the same extent as for other employees who are similarly limited in their ability to perform job functions.
Are there limits on accommodations that must be provided?
Yes. Only reasonable accommodations are required. Further, accommodations that impose an undue hardship on the district do not need to be provided. Accommodations impose an undue hardship if they involve significant difficulty or expense, or would be unduly significant, substantial, or disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the district’s business.
The district’s position is that telework poses an undue hardship and is not a reasonable accommodation for school-based employees when students are present for in-person learning in school buildings.
How do I request an accommodation?
As a first step, you are strongly encouraged to speak with your supervisor about any workplace accommodations you may believe you need above and beyond the protocols the district already plans to follow to ensure everyone is as safe as possible. If your supervisor can’t resolve your issues to your satisfaction, you should fill out this request form. You are encouraged to ask for whatever form of accommodation you believe you need.
This form is to be used as part of an interactive process between the district and the requesting employee to determine what, if any, accommodations will be provided to the employee.
- Part I (digital) - This part of the process is completed digitally by the employee. You will need to state the nature of your request and basic information about the reason you need an accommodation. You are required to talk with your supervisor about your situation before completing Part I of the form.
- Parts II and III (hard copy) - Once Part I is received by Talent Management, we will reach out to you with next steps, which may include collecting information from a healthcare professional.
*Employees may wait to hear from Talent Management, or they may proactively ask their own healthcare provider to complete Part III of this form. Employees who take this step may expedite their process.
**All information submitted by you or a healthcare professional will be stored confidentially and separately from your personnel file in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA").
How will I be expected to support the process?
Both the district and the employee have a mutual obligation to engage in an “interactive process” to confirm whether an accommodation is actually needed and determine what if any reasonable accommodations exist. The district may require the employee’s healthcare provider to confirm the need for an accommodation and provide input on possible accommodations that would work. At any point in the process, Talent Management and/or your supervisor may reach out to you to discuss your request. We will be unable to act your request without your participation and cooperation in this process.
Do I get to choose the type of reasonable accommodation I receive?
The employee’s preferences will be considered, but the district ultimately has discretion to choose which type of reasonable accommodation to provide when there are multiple effective reasonable accommodations available.
The first thing you should do is tell your supervisor about your need for leave and the specific reason you need leave. Your supervisor will talk with you and discuss whether there may be any reasonable options that will work for you instead of leave.
If you do need to apply for leave, you can do so by completing the Tulsa Public Schools COVID-19 Employee Leave of Absence Request form.