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I received many inquiries from you regarding guidance on how to guard against catching the Coronavirus while at work.  While we are not physicians at the P.E.A., I can share with you the advice that has been promulgated by the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health which is:

 

  1.  Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

  2.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.  

  3.  Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. 

  4.  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available. 

  5.  Stay home if you’re sick, especially with a fever. 

  6.  Avoid people who are sick. 

  7.  Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

 

Thus far, the District has not yet issued its own guidelines for the Coronavirus.  We understand that such guidelines are forthcoming. Not only are we concerned about your own health and safety, but we are also doubly concerned that the District’s existing policies and regulations may conflict with guidance from state and federal authorities as to how to guard against the Coronavirus.  For example, the District currently prohibits the use of hand sanitizer in the classroom. However, the NJDOH specifically recommends employees use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. If the District does not supply you with adequate cleaning supplies and or hand sanitizer (in a timely manner) then we understand that you may need to bring your own supplies from home for your own personal health and safety. 

 

Finally, if the District chooses to discipline you for these actions, the P.E.A. takes the position that these reasonable measures that employees may use to combat catching the Coronavirus are valid exceptions to District policy.  The P.E.A. will vigorously challenge any directive or acts of discipline by the District that seeks to prevent our members from taking reasonable measures to protect their health and safety. 

 

For members that wish to read further on this topic, here is a link to the most recent guidance by the NJDOH

https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/COVID19_schools_FINAL_3.4.20.pdf

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