Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Newton County Board of Trustees had extended COVID-19 leave through March 31, 2021. The story has been corrected below. The Appeal regrets the error and is happy to set the record straight.
The Newton County Board of Trustees is waiting to hear from the federal government to see if paid leave for staff members quarantining due to the novel coronavirus will be extended.
With the first wave of COVID-related legislation, the federal government required school districts to pay employees for time needed off due to COVID-19. That legislation expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
During a meeting on Jan. 11, NCSD financial director Cay Clark said they were waiting to see if the federal government will be extending the COVID-19 pay into 2021, but nothing has been decided at this time. She said that employee absences during fall 2020 semester that fit the federal guidelines for COVID-19 leave were covered.
"This was not a school board policy," Clark said. "We were following what the federal government required us to do. We were hoping that they would have made a decision on this by now, but they have not. The school district never had a policy on COVID-19 leave, and at this time, the school board has not adopted a policy to extend COVID-19 pay."
Clark said workers and staff can use any unused leave to cover any absences caused by COVID-19 that occurred after Dec. 31, 2020. If Congress extends coronavirus leave into 2021.
The board of trustees also held their election of officers. Glenda Barrett was re-elected as president, Jason Cain was re-elected as vice president and Johnnie Thorne was re-elected as secretary.
The following is a list of items that were also voted on and approved during the January meeting:
- Financial reports
- Fixed assets
- 2021-2022 school calendar
- Claims docket