The board voted unanimously to pass the measure after lengthy discussion on how it would potentially be used and how much time it could add up to within a school year.
“The leave we are requesting would only be available to employees who tested positive for COVID and are required to isolate,” said Kathy Kenny, executive director of human resources for NBISD. “This resolution will allow us to give back leave that has already been deducted from employees this school year, that have tested positive and required to isolate and then provide leave for those employees who might test positive for the remainder of the school year,” she said.
In addition, the resolution requested that the board give back leave to the 54 employees since Jan. 1, 2021 that tested positive and had to use some or all of their leave during the second semester of the 2020-21 school year due to a COVID diagnosis.
Federal Family and Medical Leave Act extensions that covered employees in 2020 during the first few months of the pandemic covered district employees that had to quarantine or isolate through Dec. 31. As of Jan. 1 of this year, sick leave reverted back to normal.
This resolution will end in June 2022.
Part of the district’s proposed reasoning was to prevent turnover or teachers opting to take jobs in neighboring districts in Region 13 that have already enacted such measures to their sick leave policies, Kenney said.
“I absolutely don’t like it when we compare ourselves to people in the area. This is the right thing to do,” said board member David Heefner. “Regardless of whether Comal did it or didn’t do it. We are asking teachers and staff to work in conditions that aren’t absolutely the best,” he said.
“One of the things that is unique about this resolution is that there are no days tied to this,” Superintendent Cade Smith said.
“If you get COVID and have to isolate, we’re going to take care of you. If you catch it again, we’re going to take care of you,” he said.