Leander ISD board extends COVID-19 leave for district staff

Leander ISD board members approved the five-day COVID-19 leave Jan. 13. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Leander ISD board members approved the five-day COVID-19 leave Jan. 13. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Leander ISD board members approved the five-day COVID-19 leave Jan. 13. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Leander ISD board members approved an extended five-day COVID-19 leave policy for district employees as a result of rising COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant.

The board approved a resolution for additional COVID-19 leave Jan. 13. This will begin retroactively to Jan. 3 and end June 30.

The policy gives LISD employees an additional five days of paid leave if they test positive, said Chief Human Resources Officer Karie Lynn McSpadden. Employees who previously tested positive and took leave can use the additional five-day leave if they test positive again.

Employees are encouraged to isolate for five days if they test positive and may return to work after five days if symptoms are resolved or improving and are fever-free for over 24 hours, according to district documents.

On average, employees are taking four days to recover from symptoms, McSpadden said, and several staff members have tested positive more than once and required another sick leave period for COVID-19.


The previous leave policy expired in December, prior to the surge of the omicron variant.

The district saw large numbers of employee absences in recent weeks. Superintendent Bruce Gearing said while the goal is to keep schools open and provide in-person learning if possible, it has become challenging. The district had 503 staff member COVID-19 cases Jan. 13.

In classrooms and cafeterias, Gearing said the district has survived with help of central office staff and teachers doubling up. But staffing help is more difficult in transportation.

“We can help out in cafeterias. It’s much harder to get in a bus and help out there,” Gearing said.

The district has also seen drops in student attendance, which affects the district’s state funding. The district budgeted 96% average daily attendance, or ADA, funding, but is currently averaging 94%. The past week has been below 90%, however.

Gearing said the district is awaiting Texas Education Agency guidance, and he does not want to encourage students who do not feel well to come to school.
By Taylor Girtman

Reporter, Cedar Park and Leander

Taylor Girtman became the reporter for the Cedar Park-Leander edition in February 2020. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida.