SHELBY — Teachers within the Shelby City Schools district will have an extra safety net of leave days amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the Shelby Board of Education approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the board, the Shelby Education Association/SEA/OEA and the Shelby Association of School Support/SASS/OEA regarding COVID-related leave for the 2020-2021 school year.
According to Superintendent Tim Tarvin, Shelby teachers accrue a day and a quarter of sick leave for every month worked, capping out at 15 days per year. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) adds an additional 10 days of leave.
With the MOU approved on Monday, staff members will receive another additional 10 paid-leave days for any absences related to COVID-19. Tarvin said these days can be used in place of sick days, and do not cost the district any more money.
"It's another avenue they can use if they end up testing positive for COVID, have to quarantine because of COVID, or have to provide childcare to one of their children because of COVID, without depleting sick days," Tarvin said.
The additional days of leave will hopefully alleviate some angst among staff members due to the pandemic, Tarvin said. Last week alone, 16 staff members were quarantined due to COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the school year, Shelby City Schools has quarantined 192 students and 20 staff members. Of those, 10 students and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19; Tarvin said those who tested positive are recovering well.
According to a chart documenting confirmed COVID-19 cases and quarantining in the district, the majority of cases have come from Shelby High School, with 68 quarantined and seven confirmed cases since the beginning of the school year. Dowds Elementary has had two confirmed cases, and Little Whippets Preschool has had one.
"We don't want them coming to school if they're sick; usually teachers would just power through, like most workers," Tarvin said. "So if you have a person who's not feeling well, this gives them an avenue to stay home, and stay safe and responsible.
"It's a win-win situation for our staff and our district."
Shelby City Schools went fully remote starting Monday due to COVID-19 cases and staffing issues throughout the district.
Students will receive virtual instruction immediately before and after Thanksgiving Break, with remote classes on Nov. 23 and 24 and again from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4. In-person classes will resume Dec. 7.
"It is the hope of the Shelby City Schools that this change will allow our staff and students to continue face-to-face instruction in a healthy and safe manner beginning on Dec. 7," Tarvin said in a letter to district families.
Lexington, Ontario, Clear Fork and Lucas have also announced district-wide remote learning periods over the last couple of weeks.