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Update: Subbing with No Mask
Old 11-11-2020, 03:26 PM
 
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In September, I posted the following narrative on this forum:

I live in PA. I work for a sub agency. Our Governor, in conjunction with the Dept. Of Health and the Dept. Of Education, has issued multiple mask mandates since April. Each of them has contained exemptions for people with medical conditions who can't wear a face covering. I am one of those people. Most businesses/stores have been good about honoring the Governor's exemptions, but there are a few who have given me grief, and also some hecklers (customers). The HR Director of my sub agency told me that I have nothing to worry about because the Dept. Of Education's reopening guidelines mentioned the mask-wearing exemptions specifically for both students and adults. School districts were required to include it in their reopening plans, and they should all be aware. Still, I am nervous about showing up each morning. I have two doctor's letters that I carry around with me, and my sub agency has a copy of them on file. But I've experienced several instances of people doing everything from frowning at me to calling the police on me this summer when I was out in public. I don't want to travel to a school, just to have them turn me away. Per the Governor's exemptions, they are not supposed to do that, but I'm still uneasy about the whole situation.

Thank you for all of the responses. Most of you expressed concerns about me working in schools without a face covering. Now, I have an update, and it appears that most of you have gotten your wish. I won't be able to substitute, even if I wanted to. Basically, this decision has been forced upon me by the local school districts.

To elaborate, I haven't been scheduling jobs for other reasons, but I've been inching to go back soon and checking jobs regularly for future assignments that interest me. My sub agency has continued to give me their full support, stating that they want to be in compliance with the following Dept. Of Health and Dept. Of Education phased reopening guidelines:

"Public Health Guidance for School Communities

Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools During COVID-19

Face Coverings and Masks

School Staff and Visitors

Individuals must wear a face covering (mask or face shield) unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school."

In my opinion, this issue is very clear. At some point over the summer, members of the Dept. Of Education sat down together in a (perhaps virtual) board room, alongside of members of the Dept. Of Health. They took the time to draft the lengthy document that contains this paragraph. On its Website, the Dept. Of Education refers to itself as the governmental institution that oversees all of the public schools in PA. This means that they are superior to the individual school districts (their "bosses", so to speak).

They included this paragraph because they either thought that it was safe enough to allow school staff and visitors with medical exemptions under the ADA (which I have) to continue working in schools, or that it was unfair/discriminatory not to allow them, or both. Yet, seemingly all 33 school districts that I work for have turned me down without a face covering. I lost a building substitute position that I already had last year (which I was assured would continue), and then a long-term position beginning in January. Also, seemingly none of the school districts want me there day-to-day.

It's in the interest of keeping everyone safe... I get it. But it seems that their superiors, alongside of the health experts, already decided this, eliminating the need for the school districts to decide themselves. Otherwise, what was the point of drafting this paragraph in the document?

I am sorry to those of you who disagree, but to me, the paragraph that I quoted above is very clear. Local school districts should all be following it, and not making their own decisions that go against the grain of their own overseeing entity. Substituting is all that I have done and known for nearly 20 years. I really don't want to do anything else, nor do I think I can without a face covering. I have battled clinical depression and anxiety for many years, and this issue (not the virus itself) is making it so much worse. My unemployment benefits have been exhausted, and I have no way to pay my bills or put food on the table. It feels like we, as a society, are OK with casting aside those with medical conditions that preclude the wearing of face coverings, at the expense of keeping everyone else safe.


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Masks
Old 11-11-2020, 04:29 PM
 
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Itís so interesting to hear your story, because I often feel it is the other way around - we are far too ready to ignore requirements in the interest of having our ďfreedomsĒ or because masks became a political issue (and they never should have done).

I have a medical condition that severely compromises my immune system and I depend on other people being considerate of others for my own safety. I can follow all the rules I want, but if others do not, it can be very bad. So I would have a problem with you subbing in my classroom without a mask, because that makes it dangerous for me.

I donít think there is really a solution or a middle ground; thereís just doing our best to roll with the punches and meet the needs of the majority.

Iím sorry you are facing difficulties, and I donít have a solution. I would just like you to know I understand thatís everything is hard - having a job, finding a job, wearing a mask, being unable to wear a mask, being healthy, getting sick...and I hope things even out for you soon. Best of luck!
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Old 11-11-2020, 08:17 PM
 
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I am sorry you are not able to wear a mask. But with the number of cases throughout this country so high, I feel you should not be subbing. No mask is compromising the health of the students and other staff members. I would not want a sub in my classroom that is not wearing a mask no matter what the reason.
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Old 11-11-2020, 09:23 PM
 
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Weíve been told a mask is mandatory, I really wouldnít want it any other way. Iím sorry for your situation, but I donít think many parents would be supportive of anyone not wearing masks around their children.
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Old 11-12-2020, 03:30 AM
 
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The main point of my post was not of personal opinions, but that once guidelines are established, they should be followed.

The parents are the taxpayers. They elect the School Board members. The School Board members are overseen by the Secretary of Education, who leads the Dept. Of Education, which already decided, with the guidance and input of health experts, that mask exemptions are OK. It really shouldn't be the parents' say anymore. The people they elected have spoken.


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Old 11-12-2020, 07:33 AM
 
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Are you positive it is because of the mask wearing that you aren't being hired? If they directly told you this, that could cause them trouble. Many districts in my county (Beaver County) are using building subs for everything and not letting outsiders in. We are all home for the next 3 days for deep cleaning in the school. We will not be working until we are back in the building. With the numbers rising, I sincerely doubt that you would be welcomed with open arms.
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:44 AM
 
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Yes, I am sure. I have it in writing from the Principal of my former building sub position, the Superintendent of the long-term position that I was going to begin in January, and an email from my sub agency with a list of schools that said "no" without a mask.
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Old 11-12-2020, 02:06 PM
 
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ADA protects workers with a disability and requires reasonable accommodations be made unless they would cause undue hardship to the employer or unless the accommodations prevent you from doing the essential job duties. In your case, not wearing a mask is a reasonable accommodation due to your medical needs. However, an essential job duty of a sub is supervising students in the same room as them, and that cannot be done if you cannot wear a mask because that becomes a safety issue for the students. If your job were to be an attendance clerk, you could perform the essential job duties without a mask, but as a substitute, your most essential duty is supervision. The employer is complying with the law.
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Old 11-12-2020, 04:04 PM
 
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Thank you for a clear explanation. That makes a lot of sense. The needs of the majority will take precedence over the need of the one.
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Old 11-12-2020, 04:52 PM
 
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No person's needs should be left behind (unconsidered), not even one. I shouldn't be left to sink, swim, or starve because of a disability that is not my fault. Students with the same condition are allowed to be unmasked. Are we basing our decisions between students and staff on the mere fact that they are required to be there, while someone like me is expendable? Any potential safety issues to others would still be the same.


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Old 11-12-2020, 05:12 PM
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:01 PM
 
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No, you shouldn't be left behind. You should be able to receive unemployment.

I believe that students in my district who cannot wear masks are being provided accommodations by participating in our virtual school (Chromebooks and hotspots are provided.) I have not seen a single student with a no-mask accommodation at my large high school. It may be different in our spec ed room with students with severe disabilities, but I have not seen those students in the hall this year. As a parent and teacher, I would not be ok with anyone--staff or student-- being in my room or my child's room without a mask.

But perhaps your district is allowing students to attend unmasked. In that case, they are unable to provide accommodations for the student. A student has a right to an education. An adult does not have the right to work in a certain workplace. Your anger is understandable but should be directed not at schools and the public who are scared not to follow public health mandates. It should be directed at lawmakers who won't pass relief for people who have lost their livelihood through no fault of their own.
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Old 11-12-2020, 08:04 PM
 
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Have you considered applying for an online teaching position in virtual schools located in many states or internationally with VIPkid or others?

https://jimmyesl.com/teach-english-o...-is-it-for-me/
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Old 11-13-2020, 12:19 PM
 
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I'm subbing hybrid for the first time with the computers. It isn't so bad. The training made it look like a nightmare process, but the secretary showed me and it is not bad.

On a personal note, we were told a few days ago that my brother was covid positive and in the hospital. Last night we were told that he will probably not be going home. If you are a praying person, please do. He is a good person. Would give or do anything for anybody.

Last edited by bodhimom; 11-13-2020 at 12:19 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-13-2020, 05:28 PM
 
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I am so sorry to hear that your brother is sick with the virus, I am praying for him and hopefully he will get better.🙏🏻
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Old 11-13-2020, 05:40 PM
 
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My prayers for your brotherís recovery and strength for all in your family.
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Old 11-13-2020, 07:34 PM
 
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OMG I'm so sorry bodhimom! Your brother is in my prayers...
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Subbing is not a right.
Old 11-14-2020, 12:56 PM
 
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Quote:
An adult does not have the right to work in a certain workplace.
tyrex: Your post is right on!

I feel for all those among us who have lost work and jobs due to Covid. Just like many, I lost my subbing work in mid March due to the pandemic. It's been a horrific shock for all of us. But the one thing I wish people would get is that wearing masks is about protecting ourselves and others. It's not about politics.

Covid does not select who gets sick and who doesn't based on what's fair. There's no fairness in it at all. It's a very contagious disease. It doesn't bypass someone just because they have a doctor's authorization not to wear a mask. If someone can't wear a mask, then they need to do what's right and avoid exposing themselves and others to potential infection.

I had a friend who several years ago (before working remotely was a thing) had to give up her well paying government analyst job because she became ill working inside office buildings. She was highly sensitive to the dust in the ventilation systems. She filed for disability and it was granted. It was unfortunate, but the fact was that her condition made it so that she couldn't continue to do her job in the setting required. It wasn't anyone's fault. Just one of those unfortunate things.

So as others have suggested, if a job requires you to wear a mask and you cannot due to medical issues, then the solution is to find another job where masks are not required, or maybe consider filing for disability. (If you want to sub, you might switch to a district that is still on distance learning and subs get to work remotely.) It's a bitter reality, but really that simple. It's not everyone else's obligation to risk infection due to one person's need to go maskless.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 11-14-2020 at 01:30 PM..
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Old 11-14-2020, 11:49 PM
 
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I think the "don't have to wear a mask" exception changed after the CDC found out the virus is super airborne.

Remember, the rules change everyday with Covid. It's an incredibly volatile situation.

That being said, I understand your frustrations greatly.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:42 AM
 
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bodhimom, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Prayers for your family.
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Old 11-15-2020, 05:11 PM
 
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Praying for your brothers recovery, and for your family.
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Old 11-15-2020, 06:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Now, I have an update, and it appears that most of you have gotten your wish. I won't be able to substitute, even if I wanted to.
Don't feel like this is an attack on you, it isn't. I understand your frustration.
We are living in unprecedented times, but like you said:
Quote:
It's in the interest of keeping everyone safe... I get it
I will be praying for you, your situation and hope your depression doesn't get worse. You are already reaching out to this sub community. They are good people. Jov sent you a great lead about virtual teaching jobs, I'd check it out.


bodhimom,
Prayers and strong faith in your brother's recovery, may he come back healthier and stronger from this.
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