In tonight’s top story: addressing COVID-19 concerns, when it comes to a teacher’s sick leave policy.
Going into Thursday night’s Minot Public School meeting, teachers were expected to use their sick and vacation days if they had to self-quarantine due to the virus.
27 days off sounds like a lot of time, but when you factor in the coronavirus, it’s not.
Lisa Clute from First District Health Unit says if you test positive, you have to quarantine for at least 10 days.
If you’re a close contact, it’s 14.
And, if you live in the same house as a positive case, you start your 14-day quarantine on the last day of the positive’s 10-day quarantine.
Which can add up to 24 days.
“If you are identified as a close contact, you are home for 14 days. Whether you have a negative test or not. And I think that’s important point for everybody to understand,” Clute said.
10 of those days off come from the Family First Coronavirus Response Act which does not go against a teacher’s sick leave.
After that, they have to use their own personal days and sick time. If they run out, they have to take unpaid leave.
But, at Thursday’s meeting, the school board agreed to create a sick bank that staff could use only after they use all of their sick and vacation time.
“We want to keep our whole school family here, whole. And I think this would be an opportunity to do this,” said Mike Gessner, school board member.
Teachers can donate one day into the bank and the goal is to make the time for others to be able to use up to 20 days for COVID-19 related issues, only.
“I mean, it was nice to hear about the sick bank, that was news to me,” said Chris Brown, English teacher, Central Campus.
If the sick bank becomes empty, teachers will be asked to put another day in.
As of now, teachers are not mandated to donate the days.
The sick bank would expire on June 30, 2021.
If a staff member can still work from home, they do not have to take any of their sick days.
“They could fulfill the duties of their job, they could be at home, they could pipe in a lesson into the classroom. That would NOT count as days away. They would be working, just remotely,” said Mark Vollmer, Superintendent.
Brown says Thursday night’s meeting was a step in the right direction.
“It was good to hear from First District Health and get a few more pieces of information from them and also from buildings, talking about ventilation and such. But, I think there’s still a lot of questions to be had and without addressing distancing,” Brown said.
Minot teachers go back to school on August 18th and students head back the 27th.