R-2 board approves Families First COVID Response Act extension through June 30

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 1/13/21

BLAND — Following the Dec. 31, 2020, expiration of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Maries R-2 Board of Education voted 6- to re-implement the policy on the local level to help …

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R-2 board approves Families First COVID Response Act extension through June 30

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BLAND — Following the Dec. 31, 2020, expiration of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Maries R-2 Board of Education voted 6- to re-implement the policy on the local level to help district staff and teachers feel confident in their environment.

“There has been a COVID leave for our teachers who have tested positive or were in quarantine, and we have been covering their leave with CARES Act money,” said Superintendent Dr. Lenice Basham during the Dec. 22 meeting. “They get CARES Act funding one time.”

Basham explained that if any teachers were to get sick in January since the program is expiring, they wouldn’t be paid for their forced time off.

“MSBA put out a resolution that is in your board file and I would like to see us extend it just because I don’t want someone to come to school sick because they can’t afford to be off,” Basham said. “I’d like to see us extend that to June 30, 2021. If we have summer school, it won’t count for substitutes. It is only for one time.”

Basham added that a staff member or teacher would have to show notes or paperwork from their doctor or the health department showing they need to go into quarantine.

Director Tom Kinsey asked if that meant someone in their household got sick? Basham said yes, it could mean that they were asked to go into quarantine because someone in their household was sick. It doesn’t mean they are positive or that their family is positive, but that someone in their family has been in very close contact with a positive case and they were asked to quarantine by the health department or their doctor.

Kinsey said his only concern was that they would have to have a substitute for that person that they are paying to stay home.

“We would use CARES Act funding for that substitute,” Basham said. “And they are only allowed to do it once. If they are quarantined and later down the road they become positive, it only covers 80 hours,” Basham said. “It also does not cover if the daycares are closed down.”

Director Amy Kiso asked Basham to clarify that the board expanding their policy is separate from the resolution from MSBA.

“I’d like you to — it’s up to you,” Basham said. “I think the resolution is something we need to decide on, otherwise it is just us extending it. So we don’t have to go back and rescind it later.”

Director Garret Bialczyk explained that it would be better for the district to accept MSBA’s resolution too because it would have the beginning and end of the policy expansion without the board having to go back and revote on it.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was not part of the expansion bill in December.

“I move that we extend the COVID leave policy through the end of the school year, thus adopting the resolution of the same,” Kiso said.

Bialczyk seconded the motion. The board voted 6-1 to accept the resolution with Director Brent Stratman against it.

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