20 days of LRSD covid sick leave OK’d


A school bus passes as students head into the building for the first day of school at Little Rock Central High School on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette /
Thomas Metthe

Little Rock School District employees will be provided up to 20 days of leave with the opportunity for more if they contract covid-19 or are quarantined because of covid exposure and are unable to work from home.

The Little Rock School Board voted 9-0 for the covid-19 sick leave proposal that was crafted by Superintendent Mike Poore and his staff in consultation with the personnel policy committees for both teachers and support staff. The 21,000-student district has more than 3,000 employees.

The board approved the plan at a meeting in which Poore announced that plans are close to being finalized for offering covid-19 vaccine clinics for school system employees at several locations throughout the district as soon as next week. The shots will be administered in conjunction with several Little Rock area pharmacies, Poore said.

The covid leave policy — which does not require employees to use their traditional sick leave days or take days without pay if they have exhausted that traditional leave — is retroactive to Jan. 4.

It is expected to cost the district about $2.85 million, money that will come from the district’s $28.6 million allocation from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, approved by Congress and signed by the president in December..

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Robert Robinson, the district’s executive director of human resources, told the School Board that he believes the leave plan is unlike any other covid leave plan in the state and it is the best plan.

LaKeitha Austin, the chairman of the certified Personnel Policy Committee, said the plan “makes everyone whole.”

The newly approved plan provides 10 workdays of paid leave for those unable to work or telework. And those employees who are quarantined more than one time may be granted up to 10 additional days for a maximum of 20 days of covid leave — if the employee was following all district safety guidelines.

Employees that exhaust the covid leave can appeal to the School Board for “advanced sick leave” for a number of days to be determined by the School Board.

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