Frederick County Public Schools on Wednesday announced it will offer paid leave to staff who need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 — a measure its employee unions had been fighting for since last summer.

The policy also covers staff who have to care for a family member who is isolating or quarantining.

The leave will apply retroactively to July 1, 2021, meaning employees who had to exhaust their personal days or sick days due to quarantine or isolation periods will be able to get them back.

Missy Dirks, president of the Frederick County Teachers Association, called that “crucial.”

“It’s something that should have been in place all along,” Dirks said. “People have been having to use their own leave all along, and at this point in the year, that has depleted some people’s leave bank down to zero.”

In an email to staff, FCPS administrators referred to the move as a “reinstatement” of COVID-19 leave. The district’s previous policy — which was nearly identical to the one announced Wednesday — expired June 30, 2021.

“The Board of Education recognizes the significant challenges that this year has brought for employees, especially in recent weeks when cases of COVID-19 have risen dramatically in the community,” FCPS’ email read. “The Board remains focused on the wellness of students and staff and are hopeful this additional leave will benefit employees should they test positive for COVID-19.”

Details about verification requirements for taking COVID leave or reinstating personal leave will be “sent to employees in the near future,” the email said.

The policy came about through joint agreements between the school board and the FCTA, the Frederick Association of School Support Employees (FASSE) and the Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association (FCASA).

“We are extremely happy that we have been able to secure this for our members,” Dirks said. “We worked closely with the other two employee associations to make sure that it was the same and equitable across all staff.”

The policy applies to both benefited and nonbenefited employees.

Follow Jillian Atelsek on Twitter: @jillian_atelsek

(15) comments

fnpreader123

How are people even upset by this? I think we all know people that go to work sick, and spread it around. Is that what you want people to do with Covid? If not, then they shouldn't be charged leave for MANDATORY sick days that are forced by CDC guidelines. Sheesh.

I know right...all employers should be doing this...all employers. Do we want to get Covid under control or not??? This is one good step in that direction....what do employers expect employees to do, stay home and miss pay or come to work sick with Covid and get paid? If you are having a mild case of Covid and are out of sick time you are coming to work with Covid. Remember it's not that bad. it's like a bad cold or flu(sarcasm).....knowing that 99% employers are NOT providing Covid sick time to their employees you can be guaranteed there are plenty of people working while sick with Covid. Another reason to mask up always...

Boomer631B

the hits keep coming - well got to spend that covid federal relief $$$$ some how might as let them take covid leave and not touch their personal vacation...

So you want employees to come to work sick with Covid?

Me I would prefer them not to but hey I would understand if they did, now they don’t have to? How isn’t this a good thing? Remember you have grandkids in public school so you should be supportive of this policy? But you are not, why?

Boomer631B

Not against sick teachers taking leave from whatever leave bank to protect them and the children... I was just saying the $$$ is there to be use for things that make sense like this.... the hits keep coming. Yes I care about my kids in school that is why I want mask mandate lifted now.

BoomBoom

You want the mask mandate lifted? Why??? That seems counterintuitive....to the fact you care about kids in schools...? Please explain why lifting the mask mandate is caring about kids? I don't see it that way...

Boomer631B

It has been reported numerous times from numerous medical organizations that have done studies on masking children and the impact is far worse than the impact of the virus... anyway in the near future the mask mandate will be lifted in the county and even indoors for schools. Even WHO is now saying no need for kids to get the 2nd shot of vaccine or boosters - based on their research around the globe. So yes I care more about the kids health wise than many others who keep wanting them to wear masks in school... now have a nice day.

But BoomBoom....what about the kids that aren't vaccinated? So does this mean you are for vaccine mandates?

I kinda maybe sorta agree with you about kids that have been vaccinated maybe don't need to wear masks BUT....THEY DO, see because of variants and the such and what about kids and staff that are immunocompromised? And or have pre-existing conditions like diabetes where if they did catch Covid they are are a higher risk for complications even being vaccinated? Have you thought your thoughts through, perhaps past your own nose?

I couldn't find anything on Google about WHO saying that kids that have been vaccinated don't need to wear masks??? That masks are doing more harm than catching Covid? You understand about long Covid right, you prepared for your grand kids to become diabetics? You said most of them have had Covid, they are at a higher risk for lung problems and diabetes, you realize that right?

Can you perhaps please post a link to article where WHO is saying kids that are vaccinated don't need to wear masks? You could be misinterpreting the data??? Or maybe I'm not Googling the right info?

Also there is going to be a variant that is vaccine and treatment resistant...it's just a matter of time(probably withing the next three months, if you have been paying attention)..me, I would prefer not to find out the hard way my vaccine isn't working, you on the other hand like to live dangerously so you anti-maskers carry on.

I'll let you anti-maskers be the first to experience the variant that is vaccine and treatment resistant...be the Guinea pig so to speak ....canary in the coal mine.....yep you go first....then if you survive the variant get back to me about prancing around around without a mask on.

Boomer631B

kids vaccinated or not the virus impact on them is little impact unless they have other health issues and then their parents should get them vaccinated and maybe wear the proper mask for their illness... too many alarmists and not enough leaders so do whatever you want and have a nice life... my kids and grandkids are and will continue to thrive in life!

BoomBoom..you are fun to play with....hey do you read Sci-Fi? Did you ever read Ender's Game? Valentine is my favorite person in that book(she knew how to play the game better than Ender), who is your favorite person in Ender's Game?

Oh BoomBoom can you by chance Google up the WHO article, you know the one where they say catching Covid is better for kids than wearing masks...pretty please?

Our audience expects documentation for wild assertions...before they will believe or not believe them, though there are way too many in the audience that will believe wild assertions without any documentation...so you stand a excellent chance of your study being believed.....

vodalone

How can you be against this? You can't be that much of a miserable curmudgeon, come on now lol

dremsberg

“Leave bank” - what a luxury that would be rare to find from any employer. And won’t even to have to touch that for quarantine. Are FCPS even remotely aware of the extensive and lucrative benefit package they have?

bayoumomma

A "leave bank" is created by not using sick days that are included in a teacher's contract. Sick time isn't a luxury; it is a necessity. FCPS teachers' benefit package is neither extensive, nor lucrative. You need a dictionary.

FlyFisherman

This should have been implemented in earlier contract discussions. With so much going on it took some time, but they got it right.

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