School employees will get five extra days of COVID-19 leave

[Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

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Posted March 12, 2021 | By Brendan Farrell, Ocala Gazette

[Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

The Marion County School Board unanimously approved five additional days of paid leave for qualifying Marion County Public Schools teachers at Tuesday night’s meeting.

In order to qualify for the extra paid leave, teachers would have to use all of their accrued sick leave, vacation time, personal time and the allotted 10 days of COVID-19 leave before requesting the additional five days, according to spokesperson Kevin Christian.

The school board’s move came after the federal emergency paid sick leave provision that provided for five additional paid leave days expired on Dec. 31. The school board’s action will honor the federal five-day provision until June 30, according to the resolution.

The decision is retroactive to Jan. 4 and covers missed time due to state or local quarantines or isolation orders related to the virus. The leave also covers those with COVID-19 symptoms or if advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider.

As part of the school district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy, any teacher or student who has had close contact with a COVID-19 infected person has to remain stay off school property for 10 school days.

“This is kind of a last-measure resort that helps people stay in a paid status versus them going into unpaid status because that kicks in all kinds of other action at the district level when somebody goes into an unpaid status,” Christian said.

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