LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board discussed taking action on several items, including extending COVID-related emergency paid sick leave along with whether or not to require uniforms at school.
The CARES Act that Congress passed last year provided for mandatory paid time off for emergency employee quarantines, but it has since expired and was not renewed in Congress’ latest relief bill.
For teachers in Calcasieu Parish schools to get paid sick leave for coronavirus reasons, there are some requirements.
“You basically have to have COVID symptoms and seek diagnosis via direct contact of someone who has COVID or be taking care of someone, like a child, that has COVID-like diagnosis or if your child’s daycare closed due to COVID,” said Skylar Fontenot, CPSB Risk Manager.
The school board approved extending that paid sick leave through June.
“We’re just renewing the existing leave as it is and it’s basically mandatory,” said CPSB member Eric Tarver. “As long as we’re sending people home to quarantine, we have to continue this policy.”
Another item the board took up is discussing whether to extend the policy that makes uniforms optional for the spring semester.
“Allow them to come to school and be educated in the clothes that they actually have at home,” said Erin Davison with Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA.
A main concern was the limited availability of school uniforms in the area.
“I’ve talked to two big box managers and they don’t have any uniforms,” said CPSB member Mack Dellafosse. “Some have mentioned DeWana’s Closet, which is an awesome organization. I just don’t know if they have the number of uniforms that we need.”
The board did approve extending this policy through the end of the school year.
They also discussed ways to recruit more substitute teachers to help out if more teachers have to quarantine due to COVID exposure.