FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – At the beginning of this school year teachers were guaranteed at least 10 COVID days by the federal government, and Arkansas under the Cares Act covered the expenses for those 10.
But now this is all up in the air. Superintendent for the Alma school district, David Woolly says, “the change is starting tomorrow if a teacher is out because of COVID-19 then the school district will exhort the first 10 days of the cost of that.”
This is something that was already required, however, before today the state would have helped the schools picked up the cost. Now it will be up to the individual districts on how they handle it.
Woolly says, “we told all of our employees last august before the school year even started and before the state announced that they were to be involved in this at all if they were off work because of COVID-19 because of a positive case or because of quarantine that they were not going to be affected financially, and that is still our position.”
Rick Shaeffer from the Springdale public school district tells me they have benefited from Arkansas support, and without it, they will now have to create a new plan.
“Next school board meeting is January, 12th and asks them to approve a plan that would allow any person in the district who has not used his or her 20 days to be able to use that up to June 30th,” says Shaeffer.
The extension of the Cares Act funding could allow the state to again offer support. As of right now, there is no word one way or the other so schools will have to improvise.
Rick Shaeffer tells me, “they would have to use personal days or sick days in place of those but we hope to continue this policy.”
Both Shaeffer and Woolly are hopeful that they will get additional support from Arkansas and acknowledge that being able to vaccinate teachers in the next part of Phase 1 will help greatly as well.