COVID-19 Educational Resources for Massachusetts Health &
Education Professionals, School Administrators, Staff, and Parents
Education Materials for Staff & Families of Young Children:
Struggling to Get Your Child to Wear a Face Mask? Try These 7 Tips
Wear A Mask Song For Kids | Mask Around Me By Drs Bop ‘n Pop
Wearing a Mask- A Social Narrative for Children by Autism Little Learners
All About Masks | Sesame Street in Communities
Pre-K to Grade 3:
Tips and Resources for Early Childhood Educators
Caring for Each Other and Ourselves During the Coronavirus
Nine Podcasts About COVID 19 for Kids Ages 5 to 12 Years Old
National Geographic Interdisciplinary K-12 Resources
Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet High School Students
National Geographic Interdisciplinary K-12 Resources
WGBH PBS Educational Covid Related Resources
WatchKnowLearn: Free COVID 19 Educational Videos
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources:
Supporting Whole Child, Whole School and Whole Community Social, Emotional and Mental Wellness
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) SEL Resources
Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MCAAP):
HealthyChildren.org – From the American Academy of Pediatrics
You Got This!
Rev. September 2020
August 18, 2020
As the Haverhill Public Schools prepares for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, we recognize that there are many questions associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our school system. When we are ready to welcome employees back to school, school settings will be appropriately modified to accommodate health and safety requirements. However, we recognize that some employees may be unable to return to work, and that others may require some accommodations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The intent of this document is to provide an overview of the types of leaves or accommodations that might be available to employees based on the reasons for the request. At the conclusion of the document you will find instructions regarding next steps for employees who wish to request a leave or accommodation, or who wish to schedule a phone call with Human Resources to discuss their specific situation.
Overview of Leave Options Related to COVID-19
Prior to COVID-19, employees had several different options when seeking an extended leave based on their own or a family member’s illness. In those situations, leave requests were considered in the context of a number of sources including contractual leave provisions contained in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, and state and federal law, including the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all of which may provide a basis for a job-protected leave. In addition to those potential sources of leave entitlements, which may apply to staff members seeking a leave for COVID-19 related purposes, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides additional COVID-19-specific leaves. All leave entitlements have specific eligibility criteria that must be met in order to receive the benefit.
You can learn more about the FFCRA here, but we want to highlight a few important details regarding eligibility for FFCRA leave:
- Unless extended by future legislation, the FFCRA leaves are available only through December 31, 2020.
- Employees only get one allotment of emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA (i.e., the two weeks of fully or partially paid leave).
- The 12 weeks of expanded FMLA leave available under the FFCRA for childcare-related purposes are the same 12 weeks available under the FMLA. In essence, this portion of the FFCRA provides another basis for staff to access FMLA leave. As a result, if a staff member has already exhausted some or all of the 12 weeks of FMLA available to them in the relevant time period, the amount of expanded FMLA leave that an employee is entitled to under the FFCRA
may be reduced accordingly. For example, if a staff member used eight weeks of FMLA leave in the last 12 months, they would be eligible for up to four weeks of FFCRA leave.
- As a general rule, the employer would continue to pay its portion of the cost of health insurance premiums for the duration of FMLA- or FFCRA-covered leave.
- FMLA: The employee is responsible for their portion of the health care premium during the unpaid This will be coordinated through Christine McAuliffe, HR Benefits Specialist and will be processed with a Debt Authorization form. This will allow Haverhill Public Schools to automatically collect the benefit deductions for each pay period (bi-weekly) beginning September 18, 2020 through June 11, 2021.
Examples of Types of Leave
Staff Sick with COVID-19 or Symptoms: A staff member who is unable to work due to her/his own COVID-19 related illness or COVID-like symptoms is eligible for up to two weeks of FFCRA paid leave (up to a statutory cap), in addition to any contractual leave (e.g., accrued sick time). Therefore, a staff member would not need to use accrued sick time for the first two weeks of paid leave as a result of contracting COVID-19. If the staff member continued to be ill and unable to return to work after those initial two weeks, they could then use accrued sick time for additional leave.
Staff Under Quarantine Order: A staff member who is not ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, but rather is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order related to COVID-19; or a staff member who has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19, will be eligible for up to two weeks of FFCRA paid leave in addition to any contractual leave that may be available (e.g., accrued sick time). Therefore, a staff member would not need to use accrued sick time for the first two weeks of paid leave. In this scenario, the staff member would be required to provide the name of the government entity issuing the order or the name of the healthcare provider advising the staff member to self-quarantine. Please note employees only get one allotment of emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA (i.e., the two weeks of fully or partially paid leave).
Staff with Childcare Issues: A staff member who is unable to work because they need to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of partially paid leave under the FFCRA. This leave is not available if another caregiver (e.g., another parent) is available to provide care, and payment would be at 2/3 of a staff member’s regular rate, up to $200 per day.
Staff with Underlying Medical Conditions: Some staff members may be concerned about returning to work because of underlying medical conditions that render them immunocompromised or otherwise make them more at risk from COVID-19. Unless the employee has been advised to self-quarantine, as noted above, these staff members would likely not qualify for any of the COVID-19-specific leaves because they do not have COVID-19 or its symptoms, but they may qualify for FMLA leave and/or ADA protection (please see the section below). These situations will require individual conversations to determine eligibility for a leave or other accommodations.
Staff Otherwise at Risk: Some staff members may be concerned about returning to work because of their own non-medical risk factors. The most likely of these factors is age, as the CDC classifies individuals 65 and older as being at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Staff members in this category who do not have COVID-19 or its symptoms and do not have any underlying medical
conditions or disabilities would not be eligible for leave under FMLA or FFCRA and would not be eligible for accommodations under the ADA. Staff members in this situation are encouraged to reach out to Cherie Pinardi, HR Principal Clerk to discuss their situations; in most cases, however, it is unlikely that staff members in this situation would be eligible for paid leave or accommodations. In these circumstances, non-paid leave could be a viable option (please see below).
Staff Who Have Concerns About Safety of Another: We recognize that some employees may have particular concerns about the safety of others in their household. This category may include, for example, staff members who live with elderly relatives, young children, or family members who may be immunocompromised. FFCRA options would be limited to situations wherein the employee is unable to work due to the need to care for a family member subject to quarantine. In those cases, the employee would be entitled to up to two weeks’ of partially paid leave. The FMLA does provide unpaid leave for care of an immediate family member (parent, child, or spouse) with a serious health condition, and care or bonding with a child within a year of birth or the child’s placement in the home. Therefore, staff members who are concerned about very young children might use FMLA leave to remain home within the first year of the child’s life or placement, assuming the staff member did not already exhaust their FMLA leave during the 12-month period. Additionally, an employee may be eligible for FMLA leave if a medical professional determines that their family member requires care for a serious health condition. Otherwise, neither the FMLA nor the FFCRA provides a basis for leave solely because of concerns for other family members. In these circumstances, non-paid leave could be a viable option (please see below).
Staff Who are Simply Uncomfortable: Some staff members may simply have a greater level of concern about returning to work due to COVID-19. Without other qualifying reasons (e.g., their own condition or disability), these staff members do not have a protected basis for leave. In these circumstances, unpaid leave could be a viable option (please see below).
Leave of Absence Without Pay: For staff members who are concerned about returning to work, but are not eligible for leave under the FMLA, ADA, and FFCRA or through contractual leave, an unpaid leave of absence may be a possibility. In general, staff members in this situation might be able to take a one year, unpaid leave of absence (staff members would not be eligible to use sick leave days during this absence and would be required to pay the full cost of group health insurance). Upon return from a leave of this type, a staff member would be credited with previously accumulated sick leave and seniority, if applicable. Because of the challenges involved with staffing for shorter periods of time, leaves shorter than one year would typically not be considered. Staff members who wish to learn more about the possibility of an unpaid leave of absence are encouraged to contact, Cherie Pinardi, HR Principal Clerk at email@example.com or Christine McAuliffe, HR Benefits Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, August 24, 2020.
Acommodations Because of an Underlying Medical Condition
Staff members who are concerned about returning to work because of underlying medical conditions that render them immunocompromised or otherwise make them more at risk from COVID-19 may qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Links to more detailed information from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are provided below. Please note that the expectation is that most staff members with underlying medical conditions, especially those identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as placing individuals at greater risk for COVID-19, will be able to produce medical certifications.
To summarize briefly, the ADA “requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment, except when such accommodation would cause an undue hardship.” Under the law, an employer and employee engage in an informal, interactive process and attempt to identify reasonable accommodations to permit the employee to perform the essential functions of their job, while not causing an undue hardship to the employer. As a result, evaluation of any requested accommodation will require an analysis of the essential functions of an employee’s specific job. An accommodation will not be considered reasonable if it does not allow the employee to perform all of these essential functions.
Any staff member wishing to discuss the possibility of accommodations related to underlying health conditions is encouraged to reach out to Cherie Pinardi, HR Principal Clerk at email@example.com or Christine McAuliffe, HR Benefits Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, August 24, 2020.
Links with More Information About Accommodations
Notify HR: To begin the process of requesting a leave or other accommodation related to COVID-19, or to schedule a phone call with HR to discuss your specific situation, please reach out to Cherie Pinardi at email@example.com. If you have already contacted HR, or returned your form, you can expect a follow up in the near future.
Leave of Absence Without Pay: To request a one-year, unpaid leave of absence, please send a letter or an email to request for a one-year, unpaid leave absence to Sandra McArthur, Human Resource Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, August 24, 2020.
The information above reflects currently available benefits and policies established either by state or federal law and/or collective bargaining agreements. If there are changes made to state or federal law, or, modifications negotiated to collective bargaining agreements, we will notify all employees immediately.
Human Resources Coordinator
Haverhill Public Schools
4 Summer Street Room 104
Haverhill, MA 01830
The Haverhill Public Schools is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and there are a few new personnel-related updates that we wanted to share with you at this time. First, we hope you are all well and we thank you for all your hard work to support the children of Haverhill during this unprecedented public health crisis. Please take a moment to review the resources below that may help support YOU as we adjust to this new reality of managing work and home life during these uncertain times.
As our State government provides guidance to help businesses navigate re-opening, we thought it may be helpful to provide some tips to keep yourself and your co-workers, and eventually, families safe, as you return to work on a graduated basis. Please click the Return to Work Video:
We encourage you to examine resources available to support your own health and well-being. If you need assistance, please reach out:
Employee Assistance Program, Mass4You
Mass4You is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) and Commonwealth of Massachusetts for ALL active employees and their families who are eligible for GIC benefits.
Mass4You – How it works
Live and Work Well – How to get support – use access code: mass4you
School Nurses are another valuable resource available to our staff!
Maintaining Emotional Health & Well-being
Centers for Disease Control – (CDC)
What You Should Know about GIC Health Benefits and the COVID-19 Outbreak
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – English
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – Spanish
Are you familiar with The Oxygen Mask Complex? This relates to the airlines when they tell you that in an event of loss of cabin pressure, you need to put your own oxygen mask on before you assist your children or others around you. You have to take care of yourself before you can help others.
- Handwashing: When handwashing, individuals should use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly, and dry with an individual disposable towel.
- Hand sanitizing: If handwashing is not feasible, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or at least 70 percent isopropanol content can be used. Hand sanitizer should be applied to all surfaces of the hands and in sufficient quantity that it takes 20 seconds of rubbing hands together for the sanitizer to dry.
- Maintain physical distancing – six feet apart.
- Practice respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Adults, including educators and staff, are required to wear masks/face coverings.
- Exceptions to mask/face covering requirements must be made for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors. Documentation from your health care provider will be required.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Currently all staff are signing in when they enter the building. This self-certification states that they:
- Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.0 degrees or greater, a cough or trouble breathing within the past 48 hours.
- Have not, to their knowledge, had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic.
- Have not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official.
NOTE: Employees exhibiting symptoms or unable to self-certify will not enter the building. They will contact their Principal/Department Head, leave the work site, and seek medical attention and applicable testing by their health care provider. They may not return to the work site until cleared by a medical professional. A note from a health care provider clearing the employee to return to work must be submitted to the Human Resource Department.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
- If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please contact, Cherie Pindardi, HR Principal Clerk.
- Travel can increase your risk of exposure to you and our community. If you have traveled or plan to travel outside the country, please notify Cherie Pinardi, HR Principal Clerk and include your destination and dates of travel.
- FFCRA Information & Leave Request Form – English
- FFCRA Information & Leave Request Form – Spanish