Local News: Cape Schools to Offer Paid Time Off to Staff Affected by COVID (8/25/21)
As classes resume in the Cape Girardeau School District and with the unknowns presented by the Delta variant, the Board of Education has approved a plan to provide five days of paid leave to employees unable to work or telecommute due to of a potential future COVID-19 quarantine during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Classes in the Cape Girardeau School District resumed today.
“This is a unique benefit that will not take effect until an employee has already taken their allotted three days of sick leave,” said Neil Glass, Cape School District Superintendent. Girardeau.
“The district is in a financial position where it can do this and offering it will go a long way in helping staff morale. “
Glass said he discussed this issue with other school principals in Missouri.
“Some districts offer 10 days (off) and others nothing, so five days is a good compromise,” he said.
In the words of the resolution approved by the school board on Monday, “We realize that being forced into quarantine is a burden and, in some cases, a real ordeal for employees and their families.”
Kristin Tallent, communications director for the Cape Girardeau School District, said this paid vacation provision is more in play than it immediately appears.
“The extra COVID days are especially important for our non-teaching staff as some of them may not have the ability to telecommute,” Tallent said.
“Teachers can telecommute if they feel up to it (but) a cafeteria worker, guard or maintenance worker cannot perform their duties outside the building.”
In the previous 2020-2021 school year, school districts were mandated to offer 10 COVID days to employees, but the requirement expired.
“I think we should be offering something to our professors and staff in the future,” Glass said.
COVID parental contribution
Three parents who asked to speak to the school board expressed concerns at the start of the meeting about the lack of a mask warrant in Cape Girardeau schools.
At a special meeting earlier this month, Glass said masks are highly recommended but not mandatory. Masks will become mandatory if school attendance falls below 90% for five consecutive school days, he said.
A mother of two told council her decision showed “a lack of compassion and consideration for the immunocompromised.”
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The woman said her 8-year-old daughter had two liver transplants and was taking anti-rejection medication twice a day, which she said made the child more susceptible to infections.
Higher tuition fees
By a unanimous vote, the school board approved the increase in out-of-district tuition fees for elementary and secondary students to $ 9,500 for the new year. Tuition was $ 9,000 per year for the previous three academic years, said district finance director Lindsey Dudek.
Glass said the increase “is in line with what other districts charge in the region,” and added that the increase would impact around 30 students.