Pflugerville ISD is joining several other school districts in Travis County that already have paid COVID-19 leave for their teachers and staff.

The policy shift came during a Sept. 16 board meeting, at which several members of the Pflugerville Educators Association showed up to voice their strong support for the policy.

Prior to the meeting, August Plock, president of the PEA, said different iterations of COVID-19 leave for teachers and staff have already been approved throughout districts in Central Texas, including five in Travis County.

"Different districts are doing it differently," Plock said. "I guess what we'd probably like to see is eight to 10 days of paid COVID[-19] leave, so if you do test positive, you're not using your own personal days."

Since the general expectation is if someone in the district tests positive for COVID-19, they are typically out of work for about 10 days with weekends factored in, Plock said eight-10 days paid leave is a reasonable expectation.

Several teachers and staff members pressed the board during public comment to enact such a policy at a Sept. 2 workshop meeting, many stating it was far beyond time to allow for paid leave during a pandemic.

Plock and several other PEA members took the same approach during public comment at the Sept. 16 meeting.

"You would be one of the only district leaderships in the area not to do so," said PfISD Fifth grade teacher Cindy Maroquio with regard to a possible no vote on COVID-19 leave. "You would essentially be kicking a selfless public school servant who is already down with the virus."

District Human Resources Chief Willie Watson Jr. proposed an additional eight days of paid COVID-19 leave during the Sept. 16 meeting, and added it would be provided if the an employee gets a positive diagnosis, but would not apply for any other ailments.

The policy also applies retroactively beginning July 1, 2021, and Watson said since then more than 100 sick days pertaining to COVID-19 have been used by staff throughout the district.

The PfISD board approved the eight additional sick days for all permanent staff members 5-1, with Trustee Vernagene Mott voting no.