Updated at 8:20 p.m. on Sept. 13

The Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees unanimously approved an additional 10 paid COVID-19 leave days retroactively effective July 1 through the end of June 2022 at its Sept. 13 meeting.

Originally posted at 8:54 p.m. on Sept. 9

Employees of Cy-Fair ISD could have an additional 10 paid COVID-19 leave days retroactively effective July 1 through the end of June 2022. The board of trustees will vote on the proposed policy Monday, Sept. 13.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 or are required to care for an immediate family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 would be able to take advantage of these designated days. The same policy was in place last school year, and district officials said they processed about 8,500 COVID-19 leave requests among 6,500 employees throughout the year.

Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith said these employees were paid based on their daily rate, which cost the district about $7.2 million. While the district did not include COVID-19 leave days in its 2021-22 budget, Smith said at a Sept. 9 work session that federal stimulus funds would help offset the costs this year.

She also said she expects fewer employees to need COVID-19 leave days this school year.

“Our best guess is it’s going to be less than this, especially because of the vaccine, that we’re not going to have as many people out,” she said.

However, 237 CFISD staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the school year. Comparatively, there was only one two-week period in the entire 2020-21 school year in which more staff members tested positive. As of Sept. 8, the district reported more than 1,700 students and staff have already tested positive this school year.

Nikki Cowart, president of the Cy-Fair American Federation of Teachers union, asked the board to approve the COVID-19 leave policy, saying it was needed as campuses face staff shortages due to the virus.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in and around our public schools, and that means allowing sick people to stay home and take care of themselves,” Cowart said during the public comment portion of the Sept. 9 work session. “Mandatory days off from work due to confirmed COVID or isolation should be paid days. Most employees we’ve spoken to cannot afford to take this financial hit.”