SPRINGDALE -- The School Board approved Tuesday to extend covid-19 leave through June 30 for district staff.
The board voted 6-0 in support of the proposal. Kevin Ownbey was absent.
"I know the staff really appreciates it," said Jared Cleveland, superintendent.
Cleveland said he felt it was fair to extend the opportunity for staff members who didn't need to take leave because of the virus during the fall semester but may have to do so during the spring semester.
In the first half of the 2020-21 school year, state leaders directed that $15 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, be made available to districts to offset up to 10 days of covid-related leave for their employees who needed the time off. That pool of money was spent by a Dec. 31 deadline and is no longer available.
District employees will be allowed to use 20 days of covid-19 leave from June 2020 through June 30, 2021, according to the proposal. This isn't a provision of additional covid-19 leave days, but is an extension of covid-19 leave through the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year for those district employees who've not already taken 20 days of leave because of the virus.
Employees who request covid-19 leave will continue to receive two-thirds, up to $200 per day, of their daily rate of pay with the option to substitute one-third day of sick or personal leave depending on the reason for covid-related leave, according to the proposal.
The measure doesn't extend Emergency Family Medical Leave allowing for up to 12 weeks of covid-19 leave if a school or child care facility closes, according to the proposal. District covid-19 leave is available to meet this need, but will be capped at 10 days. The Family and Medical Leave Act time is still available for qualifying reasons.
An employee's eligibility for leave will expire if federal or state leave for covid-19 is renewed, extended or replaced or on June 30, 2021, whichever comes first, according to the proposal.
In other news, Damon Donnell, coordinator of student support services, said district staff members should look for an email Friday with a scheduling invitation to get their covid-19 vaccination.
The email will include instructions on what staff must do to receive the vaccine, he said, to include bringing copies of the front and back of their driver's licenses and insurance cards, as well as covid-19 immunization consent forms with them to their appointment, he said.
District employees can sign up for a 10-minute vaccination appointment from noon to 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at Springdale High, on Jan. 21 at Tyson School of Innovation or on Jan. 22 at Har-Ber High, Donnell said.
The district has 2,000 available vaccine doses, he said, with more becoming available soon.
It's unknown which of the two nationally approved vaccines will be administered, Donnell said.
A second dose of the Pfizer vaccine would need to be given to staff again in three weeks following the first vaccination and a second dose of the Moderna vaccine would have to be administered in four weeks, he said.
The same process used to schedule and administer the first dose of the vaccine will be used to administer the second, Donnell said.
Covid-19 Leave Qualifiers
Ten days of leave are available for Springdale School District employees under the following conditions:
• If the employee is subject to a state, federal or local quarantine order related to covid-19.
• If the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to covid-19.
• If the employee is experiencing covid-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
• If the employee is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
• If the employee is caring for an individual whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable due to covid-19.
Ten 10 additional days are available for the following:
• If the employee tests positive for covid-19.
• If the employee is a close contact or probable close contact.
• If the employee is experiencing covid-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
Source: Springdale Public Schools
Mary Jordan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NWAMaryJ.