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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

FS School Board votes to extend Covid-19 related leave for up to ten days after December 31

The Fort Smith Public Schools (FSPS) Board of Education has adopted a resolution providing up to 10 days of District COVID leave as Federal and State COVID-19 leave are set to expire at the end of December 2020.

The District will provide these additional leave days to employees who test positive for COVID-19 or because they were quarantined as a close contact by the District, a medical professional, or the Arkansas

Department of Health (ADH).

Incoming FSPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawski said, “We believe that it is important to encourage employees to quarantine when required without having to fear any insurmountable loss of District sick leave.

This provision approved by the Board tonight is designed to close any

gap that may be present until additional federal or state COVID-19 leave is renewed, extended or replaced.”

Thisis not a change in policy, but a new procedure to be applied by the District by the Payroll Office. The Board resolution outlines restrictions and details of this procedure that becomes effective on January 4, 2021.

Eligible FSPS employees may use this FSPS COVID leave, at the District’s expense, before regular sick leave if a District employee is

unable to telework and has tested positive or is identified as a probable close contact as described.

This leave may be awarded retroactive to the date of onset of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure if absences occur on or after January 4, 2021. This provision expires when the current government subsidized paid leave is renewed, extended or replaced, or as of May 31, 2021.

Earlier this school year, the Board of Education approved procedures outlining the use of Federal and State COVID-19 leave under the guidance of the State of Arkansas. The Board unanimously approved Licensed and Classified Emergency COVID Policies numbered 3.32.1 and 8.23.1, respectively, to facilitate the payment of leave authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Arkansas CARES Act on August 24, 2020.

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