The Hawaii State Teachers Association offers the following advice for members who may need additional protection and support due to health conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
As COVID-19 is a new disease, there is limited information regarding risk factors and the research continues to evolve and change. These FAQs are provided as a reference and should not be considered exhaustive as each individual's situation may differ.
Based on the latest information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
— July 2, 2020
An individual who may be at a higher risk for developing health complications associated with the coronavirus may request a reasonable accommodation to lower their individual risk of exposure to the coronavirus. When an employer receives the request, they must consider the request under the ADA and engage in the interactive process to provide reasonable accommodations.
To be eligible to receive workplace reasonable accommodations under the federal ADA, an individual must have an “actual” or a “record of” a disability, as defined by the ADA Amendments Act. The individual must also be able to show a connection between the impairment and specific need for accommodation.
If you believe you will need an accommodation at the time schools and worksites reopen, HSTA advises teachers to begin the request process now. See the information below on how to request an accommodation. — July 2, 2020
It depends. Every individual has a unique health situation. Initially, the CDC issued guidance that those over 65 were shown to be at higher risk for developing complications from coronavirus. The CDC has since amended its guidance to reflect the following, ”As you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.” Generally, an individual will not qualify to receive accommodations solely on the basis of age. An individual needs to engage in the interactive process with the employer to determine if their health condition and job responsibilities would warrant a need for accommodation. — July 2, 2020
It depends. Every individual has a unique health situation. While pregnant women have been shown to be at higher risk for developing complications from coronavirus, generally they will not qualify to receive accommodations solely on the basis of being pregnant. An individual needs to engage in the interactive process with the employer to determine if their health condition and job responsibilities would warrant a need for accommodation. The CDC has information on how to protect yourself and your family if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for young children. In addition, teachers should know that pregnancy is a protected class under federal and state law. — July 2, 2020
Caregivers of individuals with disabilities are not entitled to receive workplace reasonable accommodations under the federal ADA, but may be entitled to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the recently passed federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Please refer to the HIDOE’s memo related to FFCRA leave, and download the FFCRA COVID-19 emergency paid leave form here. — May 27, 2020
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers this guidance on Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA. In the guidance, the EEOC notes that employees with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations in response to the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. For example, the guidance states that employees with disabilities that put them at high risk for complications may request telework as a reasonable accommodation to reduce their chances of infection during a pandemic.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) started as an initiative under President Barack Obama’s administration and is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. This site is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor. COVID-19 specific advice can be found here.
Click here for more specific information about the interactive process. — July 2, 2020
Requests should be submitted to their respective complex area equity specialist. A list can be found on Page 39 of the HIDOE directory. Teachers may also contact ADA Specialist Krysti Sukita at (808) 745-4882.
*Charter teachers should contact their administrator regarding any ADA requests.
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Tags: pregnant coronavirus COVID-19 health condition accommodation Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC Americans with Disabilities Act ADA