Coronavirus Update 3.11

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Coronavirus Updates:

Health Insurance, Online Instruction, Office Closure, and more

KEY INFORMATION

  • The University’s call to work remotely (starting next week and through the start of next term) is to deliver some course content online; it is not a call to shift your entire course to online instruction. 

  • If you're working remotely in any capacity, you are working. There is no need to use sick leave.

  • If you are unable to work, you can use your sick days. The GTFF is pushing for longer-term solutions.

  • Look to departments for discipline-specific pedagogy questions.

  • You are under no obligation to go over your FTE hours.

  • The GTFF office will be closed, but emails will be answered (as possible) during business hours.

  • The GTFF Coronavirus webpage will be updated as we get more information and can offer guidance.

Health Insurance
Message from Glenn

The office will be closed starting Thursday, March 12. I will be working from home. I'd guess 95% of you would not even realize this except for this email.

I'll be checking my emails and having the phones forwarded 9 AM to 4 PM, so as far as you'll know; it's business as usual. I just won't be available for in-person meetings.  In the event I become sick, the Union has set up contingency plans to ensure insurance services will be maintained.

 

INSURANCE AND THE COVID-19

Here’s Regence's update on coronavirus, and information about a new telemedicine service, "Ask a Doctor".

 

ASK A DOCTOR

Word of COVID-19 has many people nervous and access to care is important for people.  One of the ways in which Regence is offering more convenient ways to access care is through Ask a Doctor.

Ask a Doctor is built into your benefits plan at no additional cost.  It's essentially another provider, except it's 100% virtual. Members now have the ability to text with a doctor at their convenience, which means you can start a conversation, step into a class and pick the conversation up where you started - it's totally at your convenience.

For your plan, the virtual visit is only $5, which is much less than urgent care.  Here are some perks:

  1. Access to these doctors is 24/7
  2. Cost is only $5 for the visit
  3. Text a doctor at your convenience - it's like texting with a friend!
  4. They can prescribe and diagnose conditions
    1. Any drugs prescribed would fall to normal benefits deductible/coins
  5.  To use this service, all members need to do is download the Ask a Doctor app, register and off they go!
FLYERS/INFORMATION

GTFF office closure

The GTFF office will be closed starting March 12. We hope to reopen the office for spring term, but we are being vigilant and proactive about the risks of keeping the office open at this time and will keep everyone updated regarding when the office will reopen.

Operations will continue remotely/online as much as possible during this time. Questions and concerns about insurance should be addressed to Glenn at benefits@gtff.net. Other questions can be addressed to Michael at stafforganizer@gtff.net.

 

Sick leave

If needed for quarantine or self-isolation, you can absolutely make use of your paid sick leave. Per our contract, we accrue 3 days of sick leave per term to a maximum of 10 sick days. The specifics of this policy are available on HR’s website.  

You can check your accrued sick leave balance on Duckweb, under the Employee Information tab link called “Leave Balances.” Currently, the university’s plan is to extend sick leave for those whose exposure to illness occurs in the course of their GE duties; however, they have not given us a complete picture of how and under what circumstances that policy will be implemented. We will relay further information as we get it.

 

What should I do to be prepared for campus closures?

Check your emails! We’ll be doing our best to keep everyone updated about things like sick leave, pay during campus closures, access to insurance help, et cetera. Stay informed as much as possible, and take care of your health.

The university will be moving to remote instruction starting with finals week. While this policy so far is vague, the university is not expecting instructors to convert their courses to fully online instruction. Emergency remote instruction currently seems to be the university’s proposed stopgap measure, not a permanent solution. We should all strive to do our best without being exploited. If possible, be in contact with your supervisor about the situation.

You can also check out our coronavirus update page on the website; this will be kept as up-to-date as possible with the latest information about coronavirus and GE concerns. 

 

Will I get paid if the university moves online/is closed for a while?

We will continue to get paid for the work we do, whether online or in person, in the event of campus closure as long as courses continue to operate. We are in conversation with HR and other unions on campus to find out what proposed solutions there are for sick or quarantined folks who have exhausted their sick leave. 

 

Will changes to GE workload in the event of a move online or university closure affect my health insurance?

We are working to make sure health care coverage continues uninterrupted in the event of a UO move online or shut down. While the university has not provided us with complete information at the moment, we’re speaking with HR and other unions on campus to figure out what might happen and how we can be prepared for it to have the smallest possible impact on GEs and other employees.

 

What about my tuition waiver?

We don’t have concrete information about what will happen with FTE assignments and pay with a move online, but we are working to gather that information and any possible predictions/solutions.

In Solidarity Forever,

Your Executive Board
Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation

To learn more about our bargaining efforts, visit our website.

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