For Immediate Release

Columbus, OH – The Columbus Education Association, the Union representing more than 4,000 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools, announced today that it has achieved a major victory for the rights of educators in Columbus City Schools when District leadership agreed that certain bargaining unit members at high medical risk who had been improperly denied leave would not be required to report for in-person instruction on Monday against the advice of medical professionals.

Affected by the settlement are roughly 200 bargaining unit members who were denied leave guaranteed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) by Columbus City Schools after being advised by a medical professional to quarantine due to being at a high risk for contracting COVID-19, as well as a separate smaller group of members who received Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations for remote work which were recently unilaterally rescinded.

“We have said time and time again that our priority during this pandemic was the health and safety of our entire school community,” said John Coneglio, CEA President. “There is no clearer example of this than our fight to uphold the federally-guaranteed rights of our most vulnerable members. I am pleased that thanks to our Union’s enforcement, these CEA members will not have to choose between their health and their career.”

Following CEA’s pursuit of both cases, the district acknowledged that it applied a set of criteria to the approval process for FFCRA applications that excluded those CEA Bargaining Unit members who had been advised to quarantine by a medical professional, in direct contradiction to FFCRA requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations. An extension of FFCRA benefits was bargained by CEA and the District through March 23, 2021. Separately, the District acknowledged that it was responsible for continuing to engage in the ADA process for those members whose accommodations were unilaterally rescinded. Pursuant to communication from the CCS General Counsel, CEA bargaining unit members in both groups will be eligible to use accrued leave until such time as a determination has been made about their FFCRA eligibility and will be refunded for that leave subject to FFCRA approval.

CEA continues to advocate for all CCS employees to have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible to ensure and expedite a safe return to in-person learning.

The Columbus Education Association is the Union representing more than 4,000 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools. The Columbus Education Association is a proud affiliate of the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association.

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