JISD board authorizes COVID-19 leave for staff

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Sep. 25—The Jacksonville ISD board of trustees received an update on the district's COVID-19 status from Superintendent Brad Stewart at the Sept. 20 meeting, after which the trustees voted to allow additional leave for teachers who can show they've tested positive for COVID-19.

"As of today, we have 48 active cases, with 291 of those recovered," Stewart said. "We continue to report in our dashboard, every single day, to our community what this looks like for us.

"This, today, is the start of the seventh week of school. So, within six weeks, seven weeks with staff, six weeks with students, we've had 86 employees that have tested positive for COVID. We've had 255 students. That's a total of 341 and we're not to October yet. For comparison sake, all of last year, we had 389."

Stewart asked the trustees to imagine the workload the number of cases was putting on nurses and teachers, stating it was a tremendous strain.

"What we're finding is that these staff members are often times testing positive with little or no symptoms and they're being told they have to go home for ten calendar days. That puts them in a situation where a lot of our employees are using all of their days and they don't have any discretion in that."

Stewart stated it was believed it would be of great benefit for employees to be given additional days if they could show, through test results, that they were COVID-19 positive.

"It would benefit the district because these individuals would, hopefully, report to us in a very timely manner and not be fearing getting into a docked situation if they were to use all of their days. That would help us to not have as many contaminated in our buildings each day around our staff and our students so we can try to stay open and put us in a situation where we can take care of our employees and give them an opportunity to not use all of their days," Stewart said.

The trustees authorized nine days of COVID-19-related leave to cover required absences for eligible employees. The approved leave was made retroactive to the beginning of this school year.

Other items approved by trustees were the 2021-2022 JISD concussion oversight team, budget amendment 22-01, new additions to local policy and the consent agenda.

Regular meetings of the Jacksonville ISD board of trustees are scheduled for the third Monday each month and are held at the Administration Building, 800 College Ave.

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